Mustafa Tlass attends a 2000 dinner with Assad in Damascus.
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Syria's former defense minister Mustafa Tlass, a close friend of President Bashar Assad's father and predecessor Hafez, died in Paris Tuesday, his son Firas said.The former minister's other son Gen. Manaf Tlass defected from Assad's regime in July 2012, several months into the uprising that was brutally crushed by security forces.A childhood friend of Bashar Assad, Manaf Tlass later said French secret agents had helped him escape the country.In a rare 2005 interview with German magazine Der Spiegel, the former minister defended a 1980s crackdown against a Muslim Brotherhood-led uprising, despite admitting that at its height, 150 people a week were hanged in Damascus alone.
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