Syrian President Bashar Assad replaced the chief of military intelligence with his brother-in-law, a Syrian official said Friday. The chief of military intelligence oversees all of Syria's local and foreign intelligence operations, including activities in Lebanon.
The outgoing chief, Gen. Hassan Khalil, 65, had passed retirement age and his retirement had been postponed several times, the official said, according to The AP. The new chief is the former deputy head of military intelligence, Brig. Gen. Asef Shawkat, 55, the president's brother-in-law. The official said the change was a "natural" succession within the military.
A presidential decree was expected later on the appointment.
Shawkat is close to Assad and recently emerged as a top presidential adviser on security matters. He is married to Assad's sister, Bushra.