Sunday, July 8, 2012

Syria:Former Syrian Defense Minister Mustafa Tlass has denounced the recent defection of his son from the army, calling President Bashar al-Assad his son.

Syrian general Manaf Tlass (file photo)
Syrian general Manaf Tlass (file photo)

In an interview with France 2 channel on Sunday, Tlass said the Syrian army is not a reconnaissance team that can be disintegrated with his son’s escape.

Defending President Assad, the ex-minister added the Syrian army has been established more than 50 years ago.

Earlier this week, General Manaf Tlass defected as the highest-ranking military officer to have abandoned the Syrian armed forces.

Manaf Tlass, who attended military college with Assad, was a brigade commander in the Republican Guard.

Pentagon spokesman Captain John Kirby on Friday welcomed the defection of the general to Turkey.

Kirby said the United States hopes "others would follow his example.”

He, however, admitted that Assad "has loyalists still around him and certainly the vast majority of the Syrian military is still following his orders.”

Mustafa Tlass, who was Minister of Defense for three decades, is currently living in Paris for his medical treatment.