[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 18 February, 2005, 15:17 GMT
Syria replaces intelligence chief
Brig Gen Asef Shawkat
Shawkat is in charge of intelligence at home and abroad
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has appointed his brother-in-law as head of military intelligence, reports say.

Brig Gen Asef Shawkat replaced Gen Hassan Khalil, who had reportedly reached retirement age.

Syrian sources say the appointment could suggest Mr Assad is consolidating his hold over the security services.

The move follows the killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, which has intensified calls for Syrian troops to withdraw from Lebanon.

As head of military intelligence, Gen Shawkat will oversee Syria's domestic and foreign intelligence operations, including in Lebanon.

He assumed the post on Monday when Gen Khalil turned 60, Reuters news agency quoted Syrian sources as saying.

Last August, President Assad issued an order banning extending the terms of armed forces officers, the news agency reports.

Gen Shawkat, 54, was previously deputy military intelligence chief and is married to President Assad's sister, Bushra.

Q&A: Syria, Iran and the US
18 Feb 05 |  Middle East
Syria stung by Hariri death fall-out
18 Feb 05 |  Middle East
Bush steps up pressure on Syria
17 Feb 05 |  Middle East
Profile: Syria's Bashar al-Assad
06 Jan 04 |  Middle East
Country profile: Syria
04 Jan 05 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Syria
17 Feb 05 |  Country profiles

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific