Syria: Family Members Of Damascus Security Chief Flee To Jordan


Several family members of Syrian General Rustom Ghazaleh, the security chief in the province of Damascus, fled to Jordan, said the pan-Arab TV channel al-Arabiya , quoting sources in the Syrian opposition. They are now in a Syrian refugee camp near the Jordanian capital, Amman, the source said.

It is reported that Shabbiha (members of pro-government militias) members set fire Monday several cars and houses in Korfa, the hometown of Ghazaleh, in the province of Deraa, added al-Arabiya.

Rustom Ghazaleh is a close aide to President Bashar al-Assad. He is the former head of Syrian intelligence in Lebanon. It is not clear if he defected or not.

Jordan has so far received 135,000 refugees from neighboring Syria, where over 17,000 people, mostly civilians including women and children, were killed since the beginning of the rebellion against the regime in March 2011.

In early July, Manaf Tlass , a senior member of the Syrian army, also close aide to Assad and childhood friend of the president, left Syria to join his family in Paris.

Meanwhile, the Moroccan Foreign Ministry said Monday it had asked the Syrian ambassador, now persona non grata in Morocco, to leave the country immediately. The Syrian Embassy in Rabat is yet to comment. Earlier in the day, an official of the Syrian diplomatic mission had denied rumors of a defection of the ambassador.

In response to the measure declared by Rabat, the Syrian government announced later on Monday that Morocco’s ambassador to Damascus was now “persona non grata” in Syria. The Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not provided any explanation for its decision, but said that the situation in Syria could “not remain as it is.”

In May, the United States, France, Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia, Bulgaria and Switzerland all have expelled the Syrian diplomats stationed in their capitals, following the massacre of 108 people in the Syrian town of Hula.

Tunisia and Libya expelled the Syrian diplomats in February 2012.

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