The drip of defections by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime over the past few weeks is beginning to look like a steady stream.
France confirmed Friday that Brig. Gen. Manaf Tlass, the leader of an elite army unit and personal friend of Assad’s, had fled Syria with his family. Tlass is the highest level defector so far in Syria’s increasingly violent uprising and his departure from Assad’s inner-circle could mark a turning point in the conflict.
Andrew Tabler, now an analyst at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, has spent most of the last decade in Syria as a journalist, where he met both Bashar and his wife Asma al-Assad. He visits the region regularly and is the author of “In the Lion’s Den,” about Syria and the Assad regime’s leadership.
Tabler visited the NewsHour to tell us who exactly Tlass is and what his defection means to Assad and the war engulfing Syria:
Video edited by Larisa Epatko.