The defection of the General Manaf Tlass may be the hardest blow that has
hit Syrian President Bashar Assad since the beginning of the revolution. His childhood
friend left the Syrian territory for Turkey, and will be headed for Paris.
In this context, all the Western and Arab newspapers agreed on the fact that
this defection is the highest in the Syrian regime; especially that Tlass is a
member of the inner-circle of President Assad serving as commander of an elite
Republican Guard unit. He was also a member of the central committee of the
Baath party. However, the most important thing is that Manaf Tlass is the son
of former Defense Minister Mustafa Tlass.
Tlass, said to be in his mid-40s, is a member of Syria's most powerful Sunni
family, which has given its support to the Assad's Alawite clan for decades. This
family was not able to control the fast developments of the revolution that
took place in its hometown of Rastan. This town witnessed the deadliest
confrontations between the regime forces and the Free Syrian Army, as well as
many protests calling for the fall of Assad’s regime.
The defection of Manaf Tlass did not surprise many people; especially that
he was far from the political scene for a year for failing in the mediation
attempts between the regime and the opposition.
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