Hasan Turkmani

Hasan Turkumani
حسن توركماني
Minister of Defense
In office
12 May 2004  3 June 2009
Preceded by Mustafa Tlass
Succeeded by Ali Habib Mahmud
Chief of Staff of the Syrian Army
In office
Preceded by Ali Aslan
Succeeded by Ali Habib Mahmud
Member of the Regional Command of the Syrian Regional Branch
In office
9 June 2005  18 July 2012
Personal details
Born 1 January 1935
Aleppo, French Mandate of Syria
Died 18 July 2012 (aged 77)
Damascus, Syria
Nationality Syrian
Political party Syrian Regional Branch of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party
Religion Sunni Islam
Military service
Rank Lt. General

Hasan Ali Turkmani (Arabic: حسن توركماني; 27 January 1935 18 July 2012) was a prominent Syrian military commander and Ba'ath Party member, who served as minister of defense from 2004 to 2009.[1]

He and five other top Syrian government officials were killed on 18 July 2012 in Damascus during a bomb attack organized by militants of Islamist Liwa Al-Islam and Free Syrian Army. Dozens of civilians were injured.

Early life and education

Hasan Turkmani was born in Aleppo in 1935 into a Turkmen family.[2][3] He attended different courses and a higher military education, including bachelor in military sciences :


Turkmani joined the Syrian Arab Army in 1955 as an infantry officer. He was one of the first officers to graduate on the new mechanized units of the BMP-1 and BTR-60 armoured vehicles. He completed a staff course for combined arms operations from East Germany in 1965, and a Command and Staff Course from Egypt in 1969. He commanded the 9th Mechanized Infantry Brigade which fought a crucial rearguard action around Damascus in 1973.[4] He was promoted to the rank of major general in 1975.[2] Turkmani also began to serve as a member of the central committee of the Baath Party beginning in 2000.[5][6] He was the deputy chief of staff in the Syrian army until 2002.[7] He was appointed chief of staff on 23 January 2002, replacing Ali Aslan.[2][8] Since he is a Sunni Muslim, his appointment was considered as a move to restore a touch of sectarian diversity to Syria's military-intelligence establishment, which had been dominated by Alawite Muslims.[2]

On 12 May 2004, he became defense minister, replacing Mustafa Tlass.[9][10] On the other hand, Ali Habib Mahmoud succeeded Turkmani as chief of staff.[10] In June 2006, Turkmani visited Tehran and signed a strategic alliance agreement with his Iranian counterpart Mustafa Mohammad Najjar to form a joint defense committee.[11]

Turkmani was replaced in June 2009 by the former army chief Ali Habib Mahmud as defense minister.[12] On 3 June 2009, President Bashar Assad appointed Turkmani as assistant vice president with the rank of minister.[13] He was also appointed chief of crisis operations and was widely blamed for the campaign of torture in Syria.[14] In addition, Turkmani was a military advisor to vice president Farouk Sharaa.[15]

Rumoured death

On 19 May 2012, the Free Syrian Army's (FSA) Damascus council announced that one of their operatives from the FSA's Al Sahabeh battalion had successfully poisoned all eight members of Bashar Assad's Crisis Cell, a group of top military officials who currently run the Syrian army's daily operations. The Free Syrian Army's Damascus council said they believed at least six out of the eight members, including Turkmani, Assef Shawkat, Mohammad al-Shaar, Daoud Rajha, Hisham Ikhtiyar and Mohammad Said Bakhtian, to have been killed. Mohammad al-Shaar, then interior minister, and Hasan Turkmani, then assistant vice president, denied their own deaths to State TV, calling it "categorically baseless".[16][17]

Personal life

Hasan Turkmani owns the weekly political magazine Abyad wa Aswad ("Black and White" in English).[1][18]

Death and funeral

Hasan Turkmani was assassinated on 18 July 2012 in a bombing by opposition militants against the national security building in Rawda Square, north-west Damascus, where the minister of defense Dawoud Rajiha, his deputy Assef Shawkat and other top officials were also killed.[19] Turkmani died of his wounds after the attack.[20] Dozens of civiliants were injured. A state funeral was held for him, Dawoud Rajiha and Assef Shawkat in Damascus on 20 July 2012.[21]


  1. 1 2 Bar, Shmuel (2006). "Bashar's Syria: The Regime and its Strategic Worldview" (PDF). Comparative Strategy. 25: 436. doi:10.1080/01495930601105412. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Gambill, Gary C. (February 2002). "The Military-Intelligence Shakeup in Syria". Middle East Intelligence Bulletin. 4 (2). Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  3. Fahim, Kareem (19 July 2012). "Profiles of Syrian Officials Targeted in Damascus Blast". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  4. Hanna Batatu (1999). Syria's Peasantry, the Descendants of Its Lesser Rural Notables, and Their Politics. Princeton University Press. p. 228. ISBN 978-0-691-00254-5. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  5. Moubayed, Sami (26 May – 1 June 2005). "The faint smell of jasmine". Al Ahram Weekly. 744. Retrieved 2 March 2013.
  6. Bruce Maddy-Weitzman (2002). Middle East Contemporary Survey, Vol. 24, 2000. The Moshe Dayan Center. p. 558. ISBN 978-965-224-054-5. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  7. Zisser, Eyal (June 2004). "Bashar al-Asad and his Regime- Between Continuity and Change". Orient. 45 (2): 239–256. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  8. Blanche, Ed (30 March 2002). "'Coup-proof' Arab regimes must tread carefully in changing world". Lebanon Wire. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
  9. Hinnebusch, Raymond (2011). "The Ba'th Party in Post-Ba'thist Syria: President, Party and the Struggle for 'Reform'". Middle East Critique. 20 (2): 109–125. doi:10.1080/19436149.2011.572408.
  10. 1 2 Flynt Lawrence Leverett (1 January 2005). Inheriting Syria: Bashar's Trial by Fire. Brookings Institution Press. p. 191. ISBN 978-0-8157-5206-6. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
  11. Samii, Abbas William (Winter 2008). "A Stable Structure on Shifting Sands: Assessing the Hizbullah-Iran-Syria Relationship" (PDF). Middle East Journal. 62 (1): 32–53. doi:10.3751/62.1.12. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  12. "Syria names new defence minister". France 24. 3 June 2009.
  13. "Syria Military. Defense Ministry". Global Security. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  14. Ibish, Hussein (17 July 2012). "Assad is Doomed". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
  15. Neil MacFarquhar; Dalal Mawad (18 July 2012). "Blast Kills Core Syrian Security Officials". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  16. "Six senior figures in Assad regime killed, rebel army says". The Guardian. 20 May 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  17. "High-ranking Syrian officials deny reports of their own assassinations". Al Arabiya. 20 May 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  18. Blandford, Nicholas (1 February 2005). "Syrian media liberalisation causes a stir". The Middle East. Retrieved 2 October 2013.
  19. Bassem Mroue; Elizabeth A. Kennedy (18 July 2012). "Ex-Syrian Defense Minister Said Killed in Damascus". ABC. AP. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  20. Dominic Evans; Khaled Yacoub Oweis (18 July 2012). "Bomb kills men at heart of Assad rule as Syria fight rages". Reuters. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  21. "Syria National Security Chief Dies of Wounds, State Funerals Held for Slain Officials". Naharnet. 20 July 2012. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
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