Bashar al-Assad and Manaf Tlass, sons of the President and Defense Minister, attending military training in the 1990s

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When Hafez al-Assad died in June 2000, his son Bashar was immediately promoted in military rank by Defense Minister Mustapha Tlass. He was also made secretary-general of the Baath Party whereas Manaf became a member of the Party's Central Committee and an officer in the Republican Guard.