Syria regime appoints notorious Suheil Hassan as head of special forces

Syria regime appoints notorious Suheil Hassan as head of special forces
Suheil Hassan, who is accused of indiscriminately bombing civilian areas, has been appointed commander of the Syrian regime's special forces.
3 min read
10 April, 2024
Suheil Hassan (centre) has widely been accused of war crimes [Getty]

The Syrian regime of President Bashar Al-Assad has appointed Major General Suheil Hassan, who is widely accused of war crimes, as commander of the army's Special Forces Tuesday.

A source in the Syrian opposition’s monitoring and follow-up unit confirmed the announcement to The New Arab’s sister publication, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

The unit added that the appointment is not typically announced through the media, and is instead made through internal processes within the Ministry of Defence.

Hassan, who has a record of indiscriminately bombing opposition-held towns and  cities was nicknamed "The Tiger," and is considered to have played a key role in the maintenance of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's rule.

He has spearheaded fighting against the Syrian opposition from 2015 until the present, and later founded the "Tiger Forces", which have now been  renamed the "25th Special Tasks Division."

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Hassan is considered close to Russia and succeeds General Mudar Mohammed Haider, who had close ties to Iran.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) noted on Wednesday that Hassan is among several individuals subject to international sanctions for committing war crimes.

"It is worth noting that Suheil Al-Hassan is the proponent of the strategy of barrel bombs during military operations in the eastern neighbourhoods of Aleppo, and he implemented it wherever he went," the war monitor said in a statement.

"Al-Hassan is considered one of the most prominent military figures close to Russia, where he trained and sent many mercenaries to participate in the Russian war on Ukraine," the statement added.

Hassan, who comes from the village of Beit Ana in the countryside of the Latakia governorate, is regarded as a very influential commander in the Alawi majority areas of Syria from which the Assad regime draws its support

In previous years, he administered security in the city of Al-Salamiyah in Hama province.

He is also one of the few people to be authorised by Assad to direct air forces during battles.

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Syria's war has killed over 500,000 people and displaced over 12 million internally and externally.

The government's brutal suppression of a pro-democracy uprising that erupted in 2011 as part of the Arab Spring later triggered a full-scale civil war that drew in foreign armies and international Islamist militants.

Syrian dictator al-Assad has gradually clawed back territory lost early in the fighting with help from allies Iran and Russia, but large swathes of the north remain outside government control.

The United Nations has said that this year, 16.7 million people in Syria require some type of humanitarian assistance or protection, "the largest number since the beginning of the crisis in 2011".

The war has ravaged Syria's economy, infrastructure and industry.