No attack on Bashar al-Assad`s motorcade: Syrian minister

Syria`s Information Minister denied reports by the opposition that President Bashar al-Assad`s motorcade was hit by rebel rocket fire.

Last Updated: Aug 08, 2013, 12:43 PM IST

Amman: Syria`s Information Minister denied on Thursday reports by the opposition that President Bashar al-Assad`s motorcade was hit by rebel rocket fire as he was on his way to a mosque in Damascus.

"The news is wholly untrue," Omran Zoabi told Syrian state television.

Earlier in the day, Syrian rebels claimed targeting al-Assad`s motorcade as he was heading to attend prayers at a Damascus mosque to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, but footage broadcast by state television showed him unharmed.

The Tahrir al-Sham rebel brigade, a unit of the Free Syrian Army, said in a statement: "After conducting reconnaissance (on) the timing and course of Bashar al-Assad`s motorcade the area was hit with artillery. We pray to God and await the field report about the results."

Following the statement, Syrian state television showed what it described as footage of Assad praying at Anas bin Malek Mosque in the Malki district, where his residence is located.

Islam Alloush of the Liwa al-Islam, another rebel brigade, had told a news agency earlier on Thursday that rebels fired rockets which hit Assad`s motorcade as he was heading to attend the prayers.

"Assad was not hit but the information we have based from sources within the regime is that there were casualties within his entourage," Allooush said.

Other activists also reported rockets were fired into the Malki area, which was sealed off by security forces. Assad appeared unharmed in the footage.

Reuters