FILE - In this Sunday, Oct. 6, 1974 file photo, Syrian President Hafez Assad, right, and Gen. Mustafa Tlass, war minister, center, take part in ceremonies in Damascus honoring Syrian dead on the first... more 
FILE - In this Sunday, Oct. 6, 1974 file photo, Syrian President Hafez Assad, right, and Gen. Mustafa Tlass, war minister, center, take part in ceremonies in Damascus honoring Syrian dead on the first anniversary of the last war with Israel. All others are unidentified. 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