Hisham Ikhtiyar

Hisham Ikhtiyar
National Security Bureau of
the Regional Command
In office
9 June 2005  18 July 2012
Regional Secretary Bashar al-Assad
Preceded by Mohammed Saeed Bekheitan
Succeeded by Ali Mamlouk
Member of the Regional Command of the Syrian Regional Branch
In office
9 June 2005  8 July 2013
Personal details
Born 1941
Damascus, Syria
Died 20 July 2012 (aged 7071)
Damascus, Syria
Nationality Syrian
Religion Sunni Islam
Military service
Rank Major General

Major General Hisham Ikhtiyar (1941 – 20 July 2012) (family name also transliterated as Ikhtiar, Bakhtiar, Bekhityar, Bekhtyar and other variants) was a Syrian military official, and a national security adviser to president Bashar al-Assad.[1]

Early life

Hisham Ikhtiyar was born to a Sunni family in Damascus in 1941.[2][3]


Ikhtiyar was director of the general security directorate from 2001 to 2005.[4][5] He was one of the effective Syrian officers, who monitored and repressed the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria.[6]

Then he was appointed head of Syria’s general intelligence directorate.[7] In addition, he was an advisor to Syrian president Bashar Assad.[7] He was appointed director of the Ba'ath Party regional command's national security bureau (NSB) in 2005.[8][9][10]


Ikhtiyar was regarded as a part of Assad's inner circle.[11] In 2006, the United States Treasury Department announced that American citizens and organizations were forbidden from engaging in any transactions with Ikhtiyar, for "significantly contributing to the Syrian Government's support for designated terrorist organizations,",[12] and in 2007, Ikhtiyar was included on a list of Syrians forbidden to enter American territory.[13] Gen Ikhtiar was reportedly charged with quelling the initial pro-democracy protests in Deraa. The brutal crackdown launched by the security services in the southern city helped trigger the recent nationwide unrest. In May 2011, the US treasury department and the European Union imposed sanctions on the National Security Bureau, saying it had directed Syrian security forces to use extreme force against demonstrators.[2]

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 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 Hasan 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".[14][15]


Ikhtiyar was wounded in the 18 July 2012 Damascus bombing.[16][17] On 20 July 2012, Syrian state television announced that he had died from his injuries.[18]


  1. A hint of glasnost for Syria at the Asia Times, by Sami Moubayed, 22 June 2005
  2. 1 2 "List of persons and entities referred to in articles 3 and 4". Official Journal of the European Union. 24 June 2011. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  3. Gambill, Gary (February 2002). "The Military Intelligence Shakeup in Syria". Middle East Intelligence Bulletin. 4 (2). Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  4. Fahim, Kareem (19 July 2012). "Profiles of Syrian Officials Targeted in Damascus Blast". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  5. Haddad, Bassam (2005). "Left to its Domestic Devices: How the Syrian Regime Boxed Itself In" (PDF). Area: Mediterranean & Arab World. 43. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
  6. "New members of the Ba'ath Party Regional Command". Wikileaks. 8 December 2005. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  7. 1 2 "Against all neighbors" (PDF). Gloria Center. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
  8. "Hisham Ikhtiar, director of the National Security Bureau (NSB)". BBC. 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  9. "By All Means Necessary!" (PDF). Human Rights Watch. December 2011. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
  10. Robert G. Rabil (2006). Syria, The United States, and the War on Terror in the Middle East. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 191. ISBN 978-0-275-99015-2. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  11. "Bashar al-Assad's inner circle". BBC. 20 July 2012. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  12. Treasury Designates Two Syrian Officials at the United States Treasury Department, 15 August 2006
  13. Bush bans US entry by Syrians with Lebanon links at Reuters, 25 June 2007
  14. "Six senior figures in Assad regime killed, rebel army says". The Guardian. May 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  15. "High-ranking Syrian officials deny reports of their own assassinations". Al Arabiya. 20 May 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  16. "Syria's top security ministers slain in Damascus bombing". Russia Today. 18 July 2012. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  17. Gianluca Mezzofiore (18 July 2012). "Syria Civil War: Assad Brother-in-Law Assef Shawkat Killed in Damascus Suicide Bombing". International Business Times. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  18. "Syria blast: Security chief Ikhtiar dies from wounds". BBC News. 20 July 2012. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
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