FILE - In this April 18, 1968 file photo, Major General Mustafa Tlass, Syrian Chief of Staff, on board of the Soviet Rocket Cruiser "Terrible" during a goodwill visit by the Soviet Fleet to the Syrian... more 
FILE - In this April 18, 1968 file photo, Major General Mustafa Tlass, Syrian Chief of Staff, on board of the Soviet Rocket Cruiser "Terrible" during a goodwill visit by the Soviet Fleet to the Syrian port of Lattakia, Syria. A top general who has abandoned President Bashar Assad's regime was a longtime friend from Syria's most powerful Sunni family, and his break with the inner circle signals crumbling support from a privileged elite. Brig. Gen. Manaf Tlass was a commander in the powerful Republican Guard and the son of former defense minister Mustafa Tlass, who held the post for 32 years until he retired in 2004.(AP Photo, File) less 
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Associated Press
Fri, Jul 6, 2012 4:14 PM EDT