President Hafez al-Assad visiting a military camp near Damascus in 1978

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From left to right: Chief-of-Staff of the Syrian Army General Yusuf Shakkur, Commander of the Special Forces, Rifaat al-Assad, Defense Minister Mustapha Tlass, President Hafez al-Assad, the child Manaf Tlass (son of the Defense Minister), Bassel al-Assad (eldest son of the President). In the 1980s, the two young boys went into military careers as well.