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Who’s Who: General Ghassan Tarraf, Newly Appointed Commander of the Republican Guard

His military career was marred by allegations of involvement in crimes and massacres in areas such as Daraa.

General Ghassan Tarraf, the newly appointed Commander of the Republican Guard, has a complex and controversial history within the Syrian conflict.

Tarraf’s recent appointment to this high-ranking position followed his involvement in military operations in northern Syria, particularly in the campaign orchestrated by the Assad regime. This campaign has raised concerns about the treatment of civilians in the region.

Previously, Tarraf had led the Republican Guard in Deir ez-Zor, succeeding Major General Issam Zahreddine. His tenure there was marked by significant military operations, and he played a prominent role in commanding the “Al-Qasim” groups and the Thunderbolt Forces, which were auxiliary forces in battles throughout Syria. 

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In addition to his service in Deir ez-Zor, Tarraf was also known for his involvement in operations in various regions, including the Qalamoun Mountains in the Damascus countryside and the city of Sheikh Miskin. His military career was marred by allegations of involvement in crimes and massacres in areas such as Eastern Ghouta, Western Qalamoun, and Daraa.

Tarraf’s appointment as Commander of the Republican Guard came following a series of other military positions and operations where he gained recognition within Assad’s forces. However, his reputation is not without controversy, as he has been accused of committing serious human rights violations.

It is worth noting that Tarraf’s leadership within the Republican Guard has been criticized by international organizations and entities like the European Union, which included several Republican Guard leaders in its sanctions list. These sanctions were imposed due to the Guard’s alleged involvement in systematic human rights abuses, including sexual and gender-based violence, field executions, arrest campaigns, property destruction, and theft.

The Assad regime has often made key appointments without official disclosure, relying on loyal pages and accounts to circulate such information. These promotions have been a subject of criticism for revealing what some consider sensitive internal state secrets.

In summary, General Ghassan Tarraf’s appointment as Commander of the Republican Guard follows a history of military operations and leadership roles in various regions of Syria, including Deir ez-Zor. His tenure has been marked by allegations of involvement in human rights violations, which have led to international sanctions against the Republican Guard and its leaders.


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.

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