MESOPOTAMIA NEWS Syria Daily: Assad Changes Top Security Officials — Reports

Posted by Scott Lucas | Jul 9, 2019 | Assad regime’s head of National Security Bureau Ali Mamlouk has reportedly been named Vice President

Syria’s leader Bashar al-Assad has reportedly changed the top security officials overseeing the repression and mass killings in the country’s 100-month conflict.

Claims are circulating that Ali Mamlouk, the head of the regime’s National Security Bureau, has been named Vice President for Security Affairs.Assad has not had a Vice President since 2014, when Farouk al-Sharaa was pushed aside amid widespread reports that international powers supported his succession of Assad in a political transition.

Mamlouk, 73, took over the National Security Bureau in July 2012 after a bombing in Damascus killed several top regime officials, including Defense Minister Dawoud Rajiha and Assad’s son-in-law and Deputy Defense Minister Assef Shawkat.

He has been sanctioned since May 2011 by the European Union for the repression and killing of protesters in his previous position as head of the General Security Directorate. The US added him to its sanctions list in April 2012.

The security chief disappeared from public view in 2015, raising questions about his health, but he reappeared in July 2015, visiting Saudi Arabia and Oman to discuss proposals for ending the conflict amid a surge in opposition fortunes.

In recent months, Mamlouk has been prominent in discussions with regional powers, including Turkey and Egypt, about intelligence and security matters.

Mohammad Deib Zaitoun reportedly succeeds Mamlouk as the head of the National Security Bureau. Zaitoun has been director of the General Intelligence Department.

Security Chief Hassan Ousted

Other reports said Jamil Hassan, who oversaw the disapperance, torture, and killing of tens of thousands of detainees, has been removed as head of Air Force Intelligence.

Pro-Assad sites said Hassan was replaced by his deputy Ghassan Ismail.

Amnesty International says Hassan has been instrumental in the regime’s disappearance of more than 80,000 people since March 2011. Documents smuggled out of Syria confirm Hassan’s orders for mass detentions, torture, rape, and executions.

Last year German prosecutors issued an international arrest warrant for Hassan over “war crimes and crimes against humanity” concerning “at least hundreds of people between 2011 and 2013”. France and Germany have issued international arrest warrants for Mamlouk and Hassan over their involvement in the torture and killing of French and German citizens or residents.