yrian 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
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why is it so expensive to build a bridge in America?
- What the collapse of the Ming Dynasty can tell us about American decline
- The GOP must try to win over African-Americans
- Here's proof that Justin Bieber is just as spoiled as you always thought
- Why is American internet so slow?
- 7 ways to be the most interesting person in any room
- 22 TV shows to watch in 2014
- What would a U.S.-China war look like?
Subscribe to the Week