Syria replaces security chief — news reports

A Syrian flag flutters in Damascus, Syria. (File/Reuters)
Updated 08 July 2019

Syria replaces security chief — news reports

  • Jamil Hassan, a subject of Western sanctions, has been replaced by his deputy Ghassan Ismail
  • US sanctions designation for Hassan in 2011 described Air Force Intelligence as one of Syria’s 4 main security agencies

BEIRUT: Syria’s government has replaced one of its top security chiefs Jamil Hassan, a subject of Western sanctions, pro-Damascus social media sites reported.
Hassan, who is in his mid 60s, has been replaced as head of Syrian Air Force Intelligence by his deputy Ghassan Ismail, said Tartous Now News Network and Homs News Network on Sunday. There was no official comment on Syrian state media.
A US Treasury sanctions designation for Hassan in 2011 described Air Force Intelligence as one of Syria’s four main security agencies.
Syria’s pervasive security agencies have played a major role for President Bashar Assad since the start of the conflict in 2011 by rooting out and detaining those suspected of links with the opposition.
Rights group Amnesty International says more than 80,000 people have been subjected to enforced disappearance by the Syrian government since the start of the conflict.
Last year German prosecutors issued an international arrest warrant for Hassan, accusing him of “war crimes and crimes against humanity” for his part in Syria’s war and the mass protests that preceded it.
The prosecutors accused him of overseeing the torture, rape and murder of “at least hundreds of people between 2011 and 2013.”
Syria’s government denies any widespread abuses by its security forces.
In an interview with Britain’s Independent newspaper in 2016, Hassan was quoted as saying the government should have used more force against the opposition at the start of the war.
Comparing it to the crushing of a Muslim Brotherhood uprising in Hama in 1982, he was quoted as saying “if we did what we did in Hama at the beginning of the crisis, we would have saved a lot of Syrian blood.”


Macron slams Turkey’s aggression in Syria as ‘madness’, bewails NATO inaction

Updated 37 min 38 sec ago

Macron slams Turkey’s aggression in Syria as ‘madness’, bewails NATO inaction

  • EU Council President Donald Tusk said the halt of Turkish hostilities as demanded by the US is not a genuine cease-fire
  • He calls on Ankara to immediately stop military operations,

BRUSSELS/ANKARA: Macron critizes Turkey's aggression in Syria as "madness', bewails NATO inaction

France’s President Emmanuel Macron has bemoaned Turkey’s offensive into northern Syria as “madness” and decried NATO’s inability to react to the assault as a “serious mistake.”

“It weakens our credibility in finding partners on the ground who will be by our side and who think they will be protected in the long term. So that raises questions about how NATO functions.”

EU Council President Donald Tusk said the halt of Turkish hostilities is not a genuine cease-fire and called on Ankara to immediately stop military operations in Syria.

Dareen Khalifa, a senior Syria analyst at the International Crisis Group, said the cease-fire had unclear goals. 

There was no mention of the scope of the area that would be under Turkish control and, despite US Vice President Mike Pence referring to a 20-mile zone, the length of the zone remains ambiguous, she said.

Selim Sazak, a doctoral researcher at Brown University, believed the agreement would be implemented and the YPG would withdraw.

“The agency of the YPG is fairly limited. If the deal collapses because of the YPG, it’s actually all the better for Ankara,” he told Arab News. “What Ankara originally wanted was to take all of the belt into its control and eliminate as many of the YPG forces as possible. Instead, the YPG is withdrawing with a portion of its forces and its territory intact. Had the deal collapsed because of the YPG, Ankara would have reason to push forward, this time with much more legitimacy.”