The Butcher

You may recognize Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to the far right, the man in the center is his younger brother, Maher Assad, who is very rarely photographed or seen in public. They are an interesting contrast of each other; Bashar with no military or political experience was an eye doctor before coming into power after his father’s death. Maher on the other hand is a Brigadier General with no desire for power, just military discipline.

Not my usual kind of post but very interesting considering current events.

Maher Assad commands the elite troops that protect the Syrian capital from rebels on its outskirts and is widely believed to have helped orchestrate the regime’s fierce campaign to put down the uprising, now well into its third year. He has also gained a reputation for brutality among opposition activists.

The 45-year-old Maher Assad, however, has resolutely stayed out of the limelight. Friends, military colleagues and even his enemies describe him as a strict military man to the core.

"He is known to be a merciless butcher," said Mohammed al-Tayeb, an opposition activist speaking by Skype from the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma, among the areas pounded by the 4th Division’s assaults.

He also played a role in reshaping the Syrian military as the conflict dragged on. Once plagued by defections as rebels gained territory, the military has regained the upper hand this year with a series of powerful offensives, battling rebels to a standstill in cities and taking back some towns.

"The Syrian military has changed from a rusty institution, filled with passive and tired conscripts into an urban warfare fighting machine, filled with skilled and battle-hardened fighters."

Notes

Created - 10 months ago

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