Rotation or revolution? Syrian President Bashar Assad seems inclined to change his defense establishment's top brass, London-based Arabic-language newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi reported Thursday.
On Wednesday, Assad replaced longtime Syrian Defense Minister General Hassan Turkmani with Ali Habib, a former chief of general staff. According to the newspaper, the Syrian president now intends on naming his brother-in-law, Assaf Shaukat, the chief of staff.
A former head of Syrian Intelligence, Shaukat is considered to be a confidant of Assad's. Habib, on his part, was very close to the late Hafez Assad and led the Syrian army in numerous campaigns, including the 1982 Battle for Sultan Yacoub against Israel, fought as part of the Lebanon War.
Syrian sources told the London-based paper that it was more then likely that Damascus' top military echelon would undergo vast personnel changes in the near future - an indication of the country's concerns of possible regional instability.
Syrian news agencies reported Wednesday that the official reason for the change in the Syrian Defense Ministry was that Turkmani has reached his retirement.