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 Words in the News
 The death of the Syrian President Hafez al- Assad has been marked by open displays of grief in the streets of Damascus.
  Audio Listen to BBC correspondents Jim Muir, Frank Gardner and Barbara Flett
President Assad

15th June 2000
Death of President Hafez al Assad

 Audio Listen to Jim Muir
  Until late into the night, thousands of mourners in trucks and cars draped in black had driven through the streets, chanting slogans lamenting the departure of their leader and hailing his son, Bashar, as the man who will take on his legacy and carry it forward.

mourners: a person who attends a funeral

draped: if something is draped with a piece of cloth it is covered by it; in this case draped in black - the colour associated with death

slogans: short, easily remembered phrases often used by crowds of shouting people

lamenting: if you lament something, you express your sadness or regret about it

NEWS 2  Audio Listen to Frank Gardner
  The funeral cortege bearing the body of the late President Hafez al-Assad has made its final journey through the streets of Damascus. Thousands gathered in the city’s central square to bid farewell to the man who has ruled their country for thirty years. From there, the coffin was taken to the presidential palace, where Arab leaders and senior world figures took turns to pay their respects.

funeral cortege: a cortege is a procession of people who are walking or riding in cars to a funeral

late: you use late when you are talking about someone who is dead

bid farewell: an old-fashioned phrase meaning, "to say goodbye"

pay their respects: spending a quiet moment in the presence of the deceased person to honour their memory

NEWS 3   Audio Listen to Barbara Flett
  The anticipation here is steadily building. The crowd has seen the plane in the distance that is carrying the president’s body, which has already landed nearby. People are straining eagerly to catch their first glimpse of the coffin; they’ve been waiting all day in the baking hot sun; standing in orderly groups and chanting slogans non stop near the village’s main mosque. One young man marched around the area with a bloodied chest, apparently cut in a show of excessive emotion.

anticipation: if you anticipate an event, you realise in advance that it will happen and you are prepared for it

straining: if you strain to do something you make a great effort to do it

glimpse: if you glimpse something, you see it very briefly and not very well

baking hot sun: very hot (you bake food in an oven)

bloodied: covered in blood

excessive emotion: too much feeling


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