Observers Expect Tlas to Become Syria’s President as Caretaker

Published June 10th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

By Nabil Al Mulhem 

Damascus – 


Observers in Damascus ruled out that Syrian vice president, Abdul Halim Khaddam, would take over presidency after the death of President Hafez Assad Saturday.  

According to them, it is more likely that Marshal Mustafa Tlas, defense minister, would become president as caretaker for an interim period of three months. In the meanwhile, they said, Assad’s son, Bashar, “will be prepared to assume power constitutionally.” 

The observers referred as a precedent to the early 1970s, when Mohammed Khatib became caretaker before Hafez Assad seized power as top leader of the country after the coup he led against president Noureddine Atasi. 

Tlas is known to have been the close companion of the late Assad, and have played a key role in Syria’s political life throughout Assad’s reign. He has held the defense portfolio since Assad became president. 

The minister is also known to be in good terms with Bashar Assad, and was also close to Assad’s eldest son, Bassel, who died in a car accident in 1994. 

The sources based their analysis on the fact that the Khaddam has been lately deprived of many of his powers, including the Lebanon file –  



© 2000 Al Bawaba (

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