Syrian opposition officials are reporting that Brig. Gen. Manaf Tlass, a commander in the elite Republican Guards and a member of President Bashar al-Assad's gilded inner circle, has fled the country and defected. Tlass is not only a close friend of Assad (pictured), he's also the son of longtime Defense Minister Gen. Mustafa Tlass, a key ally of Assad's father, late Syrian strongman Hafez al-Assad. News of the defection cheered opponents of the Assad regime meeting in Paris for a "Friends of Syria" conference with sponsors from more than 100 nations, including the U.S. Separately, The Wall Street Journal is profiling Syria's highest-ranking civilian defector, former deputy oil minister Abdo Husameddin, who claims that many government employees are "defecting silently" while staying at their jobs.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- Russia is stealthily threatening America with nuclear war
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The girl who wouldn't die
- 13 Urban Outfitters controversies
- How to get the highest-end iPhone 6 Plus for just $120
Subscribe to the Week