From the archives: Syria under the Assad dynasty

Dig into the 60 Minutes archives for two informative backgrounders on the Assad family's rule of Syria

In 2000, the London-trained ophthalmologist Bashar al-Assad came to power in Syria, the country ruthlessly ruled by his father, Hafez al-Assad, for three decades.

60 Minutes' Mike Wallace paid a visit to Syria in 2003 to see how the country was faring under Assad, the Son. "There's a lot of hope placed in him, especially by the young people, that he will reform the country," said the then-U.S. ambassador to Syria in that report, entitled "What about Syria?"

But a few years into his presidency, Bashar's way of governing began to resemble that of his father. Assad Senior's brutal response to a 1982 rebellion appears to be the model for his son's handling of today's uprising (and President Assad admitted as much in his interview with Charlie Rose this week). For anyone who wants to learn more about elder Assad's years in power, we found Morley Safer's 1991 report to be an informative backgrounder:

As Safer reported, Hafez al-Assad escaped international scrutiny and punishment for his human rights abuses. Will his son manage to do the same?

  • Ali Rawaf

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