One of Assad's inner circle defects to rebels

Rick Moran
A good friend of Syrian President Bashar Assad who is considered part of his inner circle has defected to the opposition and fled to Turkey, according to Reuters: In what would be the most high-profile defection from the inner circle of the Syrian leadership, Manaf Tlas, a friend of President Bashar al-Assad and a brigadier in his Republican Guard, was reported on Wednesday to have fled to Turkey. Tlas, whose father Mustapha was defense minister under Assad's father for 30 years, could not be reached for comment but several sources among the Syrian rebels told Reuters he had quit Damascus and a news website close to Assad's security services quoted a Syrian official saying Tlas was now in Turkey. Tlas is a rare representative of the Sunni Muslim majority in a political elite and officer corps dominated by Assad's fellow Alawites, and his break with his friend may reflect an erosion of support for the president among wealthy Sunnis, slow to join an uprising driven by...(Read Full Post)

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