Thursday, July 5, 2012

General Tlass, son of former Syrian defense minister, defects

 Joshua Landis reports on his blog Syria Comment that:
 Manaf Tlass, the son of ex-Defense Minister (1972 – 12 May 2004), Mustafa Tlass, has fled the country. Mustafa Tlass was instrumental in smoothing the way for Bashar to assume power after the death of his father.
When Hafez al-Assad died in June 2000, his son Bashar was immediately promoted in military rank by Defense Minister Mustapha Tlass. He was also made secretary-general of the Baath Party whereas Manaf became a member of the Party’s Central Committee and an officer in the Republican Guard.

Bashar al-Assad and Manaf Tlass, sons of the President and Defense Minister, attending military training in the 1990s
Bashar and Manaf  during military training in the 90-ties
 Manaf Tlass was a close confidant of Bashar from his earliest days and part of his inner circle or “shille”, which included people, such as his cousins Rami and Hafiz Makhlouf,  Mudar al-Assad (son of Rifaat), Nader Qala’i (ex-CEO of Syriatel and business partner to Rami) Yazan Aslan (son of Ali Aslan, Chief of Staff).

Tlass's father Mustapah is believed to be in Paris  and his brother Firas in Dubai. Landis says that is unknown where their families are.
It was reported earlier that by now some 15 generals have fled Syria or gone over to the other side. But Tlass, with his position in the Baath and the Republican Guard is by far the most important. He was also the highest placed Sunni Muslim in the country. His father Mustapha used to be a close confidant and friend of the former president Hafez al-Assad.The families have been close since Bashar and Manaf both were little boys. If it's true thatManaf defected, it is a big blow for Bashar Assad.

No comments: