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

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid