'Syrian general defects to Turkey'

Website connected to Syrian security says general in elite Syrian Republican Guards defected in 1st move of its kind.

By REUTERS
July 5, 2012 20:13
1 minute read.
Syrian President Bashar Assad

Syrian President Bashar Assad 370 (R). (photo credit: Sana / Reuters)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

ANTAKYA, Turkey - A general in the elite Syrian Republican Guards has defected to Turkey, a news website said on Thursday, in the first such reported loss of a high-ranking military supporter of Syrian President Bashar Assad since the rebellion against him started 16 months ago.

"A high-level security source has confirmed the fleeing of General (Manaf) Tlas to Turkey," the Syriasteps website, which has links to the Syrian security apparatus, said.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


It quoted a security official as saying: "His escape does not mean anything."

"If Syrian Intelligence had wanted to arrest him it would have done so," the official added.

Syrian opposition campaigners and Free Syrian Army rebel sources said they had information that Tlas was in Turkey but did not consider him a defector until he makes an announcement.

"We think he has made it to Turkey but he has not contacted us. There is a difference between leaving Syria and joining the opposition to Assad," a Syrian opposition source said from Istanbul.

Click for full JPost coverage



Tlas, a member of Syria's Sunni Muslim majority and a former close friend of Assad, commanded a brigade in the Republican Guards, one of the best equipped units in the military, which is dominated by members of Assad's Alawite sect.

The Alawites, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam, control the power structure in the country of 21 million.

The general's father, Mustafa Tlas, served as defense minister from the early 1970s until 2004 and was a confidante of Assad's father, the late Hafez Assad.

Related Content

July 22, 2018
Israel evacuates hundreds of Syrian White Helmets in humanitarian effort

By SETH J. FRANTZMAN