Deputy Chief-of-Staff General Assef Shawkat with his children in 2006

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General Shawkat studied history at Damascus University and enrolled at the Homs Miliatary Academy. He entered the Syrian Army and rose in rank becomming Deputy Chief-of-Staff and then Deputy Defense Minister. In July 2012, Shawkat was killed, along with top security officials, in an attack on the National Security Bureau in Damascus. He was survived by his children and wife Bushra, the sister of President Bashar al-Assad.