War Crimes Complaint against Syria Ex-Minister in France

A Syrian rights group said on Sunday it had filed a war crimes complaint with French authorities against former Syrian Defense Minister Mustafa Tlass who was reported this week to be in Paris.

The Syrian Association for Freedom provided AFP with a copy of the complaint it had filed with Paris prosecutors on Friday accusing Tlass of responsibility in "several war crimes including the massacre in the city of Hama in 1982."

That year forces loyal to the regime of President Hafez Assad, the father of current president Bashar Assad, bombarded Hama over four weeks to put down an uprising. Between 10,000 and 40,000 people were killed, according to various estimates.

The group's head, Abdelhnasser al-Hanidi, said it had 300 witnesses ready to testify in the case.

Syrian opposition representatives told AFP this week that Tlass, Syrian defense minister from 1972 to 2004, had arrived in Paris with one his sons, but that they were not defecting.

The French Foreign Ministry could not confirm his presence.

Source: Agence France Presse

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