News / Middle East

Syrian Activist Says Top General Defects

Mike Richman
A top Syrian general and one-time confidante of President Bashar al-Assad has defected from Syria and is believed to be in Turkey, a potentially serious blow to Assad's regime.

Sipan Hassan of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told VOA his activist group learned from journalists and security sources in Syria that Manaf Tlas has left the country.

“What we can say about this defection, it will be a very important strike to the regime of Bashar al-Assad because Manaf Tlas was one of the important people in the regime and he was very close to the presidential family, to Bashar al-Assad and his brother, Maher, and also he was from the Republican Guards," said Hassan. "The defection of someone like Manaf Tlas, we can take it as the beginning of the end for Bashar al-Assad.”

Brigadier General Manaf Tlass

  • Member of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's inner circle
  • One of the highest-ranking military officials to desert the Assad regime
  • Received military training with Assad
  • Commanded unit of elite Republican Guards
  • Son of former Defense Minister Mustafa Tlass
  • Is a member of a prominent Sunni Muslim family
Hassan said Tlas is expected to formally announce his defection in the coming days.  The activist said Colonel Riad al-Assad of the opposition Free Syrian Army announced on Thursday that Tlas is in Turkey.

Turkey has not confirmed that Tlas is in that country.

Western and Middle Eastern news sources, as well as Syrian opposition groups, have also have reported the general's defection.

Hassan also said the general's departure may influence other Syrian military officers to leave the country.

"Sure, 100 percent, this defection will be effective for maybe another higher-level also in the regime, and he had very good relations with officers and generals, and that will be a very important step in the defections in the Syrian military,” added Hassan.

Hassan said his group has heard that Tlas may be in Paris Friday for the Friends of Syria meeting, which includes delegates from about 100 countries opposed to Assad and 100 members of the opposition.

French President Francois Hollande opened the meeting by saying that Assad must relinquish his hold on power.  He said the Syrian president's departure is in everyone's best interest.

Hollande also called for an increase in humanitarian aid to the Syrian people.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking at the meeting, also denounced the Assad regime.  She said it is against "every norm of international law and human decency" for a government to murder its own people.

She urged the U.N. Security Council to support a measure that would impose immediate sanctions on Syria, and she called on Russia and China to back the aspirations of the Syrian people.

Russia and China, two of Syria's most powerful allies, are not participating in the Paris meeting.  The two permanent Security Council members have repeatedly vetoed tough Council action against Syria.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Spiro from: Greece
July 06, 2012 12:39 PM
Notice - he did not defect to the degenerate turkies


by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
July 06, 2012 7:15 AM
Isn't it a bit too optimistic to think that defection of a brigadier would introduce following defections of offitials and collapse of Assad's regime?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid