In a surprising move in Syria, Manaf Tlass, a general in Syria’s Republican Guards, has defected. It's possible that Tlass went to Turkey. Tlass was a member of the Damascus aristocracy and was close to President Basha al-Assad.
This marks the first defection since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011. Joshua Landis is the director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.