Exiled former Syrian vice president Khaddam dies in France aged 88
Former Syrian vice president Abdul Halim Khaddam has died at the age of 88 in France.
The former ally of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad suffered a heart attack at in the early hours of Tuesday morning, Reuters cited Syrian exile Salah Ayach as saying.
Khaddam was once seen as a possible successor to Hafez al-Assad, however helped Bashar in securing power in the days
after his father's death in 2000.
The longtime Hafez al-Assad loyalist pushed through decrees that elevated the younger Assad's military rank to general and commander of the armed forces. These moves secured Assad's position amid the uncertainty that followed his father's demise.
Khaddam left Syria for France in 2005, hitting out at corruption in the Assad regime. He also claimed that slain Lebanese prime minister Rafic Hariri had been threatened by Assad months before his assassination in 2005.
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Despite trying to position himself as a key opposition figure from Paris, Khaddam failed to win the trust of other dissidents due to his longtime association with the Baath Party.