Some flee the sinking ship.  Via Times of Israel:

Manaf Tlas, one of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s closest friends and most trusted military colleagues, who is also the son of the Assad regime’s former long-serving defense minister, has defected from the Assad regime and fled to Turkey, in what one analyst described Thursday as the gravest blow yet to Assad’s regime.

Manaf Tlas and Bashar Assad have been friends since childhood, and the Tlas family, who are Sunni Muslims, have played a critical role in maintaining support for the Alawite Muslim Assads within the Syrian Sunni community. Colonel Tlas was a battalion commander in Assad’s elite Republican Guard.

Unfortunately, because of how protracted the virtual civil war has become, even bigger rats are moving onto the ship:

Iraq’s top diplomat on Thursday said he had “solid information” that al-Qaida militants were crossing from Iraq to Syria to carry out attacks, warning of a violent spillover that could shake the Middle East.

Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said Baghdad had for years urged Damascus to clamp down on militant traffic as Sunni fighters headed from Syria to aid the Iraqi insurgency.

“Now their direction is the other way around,” Zebari told reporters in Baghdad.

Of course, there’s no guarantee the ship will sink. Iran, Hezbollah and Russia are bailing furiously to keep Assad in power.


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