Forgoing any public effort to rally his beleaguered forces, Assad has focused on his personal safety, according to analysts and news accounts.
Syrian media and activist accounts recorded the shift, describing the president increasing his security detail, moving to a different bedroom each night and tightening controls over food preparation to thwart would-be assassins. The reports could not be independently confirmed.
Moreover, Middle Eastern intelligence officials, citing accounts from defectors that could not be verified, say Assad has ceased going outdoors during daylight hours, apparently out of fear that he will be hit by a sniper’s bullet or other fire.
“His movements suggest a constant state of fear,” a Middle Eastern official said on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence.