Syria's ex-Deuxieme Bureau chief, Abdul Hamid Sarraj, has been given permission to return to Damascus after four decades in exile in Egypt, reported the Lebanese English newspaper, the Daily Star on Tuesday.
The 76-year old officer left Syria when the United Arab Republic, the emerging state after the 1958 unity between Syrian and Egypt, fell apart in September 1961. He resided briefly in Beirut, until an attempt on his life was made, after which he fled to Egypt, and was put in charge of the Egyptian Social Security Service, living under the patronage of successive presidents Gamal Abdul Nasser, Anwar Sadat, and Hosni Mubarak.
Sarraj became director of the Deuxieme Bureau in 1955, and was charged with purging the country of all Social Syrian National Party (SSNP) elements, following the assassination of the pro-Baath Party deputy chief of staff, Adnan Al Malki.
Only 29 at the time, said the paper, he carried out his duties effectively, and caught the attention of Egyptian President Nasser. From 1955 to 1958, Sarraj served as Nasser's right hand in Damascus, and as a reward for his services, was appointed vice president and minister of the interior during the UAR years.
According to the paper, Sarraj, throughout his rule, “terrorized society, struck with force at all opposition, and liquidated the Syrian Communist Party.” But he clashed with his Egyptian counterparts, and resigned from office one week before the secession regime took power in September 1961.
Arrested briefly, and due to receive the death penalty, Sarraj made a secret exodus to Egypt via Lebanon, and has not been seen in Syria since then - Albawaba.com
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