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  • Jamil Hassan, a subject of Western sanctions, has been replaced by his deputy Ghassan Ismail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.”


Turkey’s Erdogan says no agreement yet on four-way Syria summit

Updated 49 min 9 sec ago

Turkey’s Erdogan says no agreement yet on four-way Syria summit

  • Turkey has sent thousands of troops and equipment to Idlib to head off the campaign driven by Russian air raid

ISTANBUL: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that there was not yet full agreement on holding a proposed March 5 summit with Russia, France and Germany on the conflict in Syria’s Idlib, but he may meet Russia’s Vladimir Putin on that date.
Syrian government forces are pushing to retake the last large rebel-held region in Syria after nine years of war and nearly a million Syrians, mostly women and children, have been displaced by the fighting since early December.
At a news conference in Ankara before departing on a trip to Azerbaijan, Erdogan said that a Russian delegation was set to come to Turkey on Wednesday to discuss the Idlib situation.
“There is no full agreement yet between (French President Emmanuel) Macron ... (German Chancellor Angela) Merkel, and Putin,” he said. Macron and Merkel have both urged Putin to end the conflict, concerned about the humanitarian situation.
On Saturday, Erdogan said that Turkey had set out a “road map” for Syria after calls with the three leaders, while the Kremlin has said it was discussing the possibility of holding a four-way summit.
Turkey has sent thousands of troops and equipment to Idlib to head off the campaign driven by Russian air raids and 17 members of the Turkish forces have been killed. Turkey already hosts 3.7 million Syrian refugees, says it cannot handle another wave and has closed its borders.