Major General Dhul-Hama Shalish, the cousin of Bashar al-Assad and his former bodyguard and his father’s Hafez, has died. For decades, Shalish was known as one of the country’s most famous “heads of corruption and destruction.”
Several regime loyalists and Shalish’s relatives posted obituaries on social media, most notably his nephew Mohammed Asif Issa Shalish.
Pro-regime pages and close confidants of Shalish, Syria’s leading security figure, mourned him at dawn on Sunday, May 15th. Shalish died at the age of more than 70.
Shalish held several positions before his retirement. Most notably the head of presidential security for Bashar and his father Hafez, as well as being head of operations for Syria’s foreign intelligence branch.
Shalish is one of the figures of the regime, which has been hit by international sanctions more than once. The sanctions were put in place due to the cycle of violence committed by the regime against the Syrian people for decades, as well as the heavily corrupt deals carried out both inside and outside Syria. Shalish was born in Qardaha in the countryside of Lattakia governorate in 1950.
For a period, Shalish was commander of the Assad regime’s presidential guard, from 1994 until 2019.
There are dozens of documents condemning Shalish for several bombings in Syria and for destabilizing Arab countries.
In 2004, Shalish was accused of hiding Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction in three locations inside Syria’s borders.
In September 2012, Al Arabiya TV obtained confidential documents repeatedly naming Shalish’s as responsible for carrying out Bashar al-Assad’s orders. These commands included being behind the Villagio fire in Qatar, as a way to ease pressure on the Syrian regime and embarrass Qatar in front of its citizens.
The media also alleged that Shalish was involved in the bombing of al-Qazzaz, monitoring the Jordanian regime, killing dissidents, and undermining Jordan’s stability.
In 2011, during the events of the Syrian revolution, the European Union placed Shalish on sanctions lists for its role in cracking down on protesters.
The Treasury Department has designated Shalish’s company, SES International Corp., as a conglomerate and arm of the Assad regime. Shalish was placed on sanctions lists for the company’s role in the construction and automotive import sectors.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.