ROBERT SIEGEL: Manaf Tlass also wrote in that declaration of defection, I was – I’m quoting from the translation – “progressively dismissed from my place of duty in the armed forces.” That suggests that his misgivings about what the regime was doing were known to his superiors and it implies that there is at least some kind of debate that’s been going on among senior officers, doesn’t it?
JOSHUA LANDIS: It does. And friends who’ve recently been with him in Damascus, had dinner with him, say he that he was very bitter. He had been given the task of trying to bring Harasta and Duma, two neighborhoods of Damascus in the suburbs that had led this revolutionary process to heal. And he had gone out to the opposition. He talked with them. He got them to back off, but he also negotiated this and agreed that the regime would back off.
The regime center said, we’re not going to do it this way. They came down like a ton of bricks, breaking heads and we’ve seen the violence that’s ensued. And, in a sense, the people like Tlass, who were looking for a softer landing for the regime, got pushed aside. And he was sidelined. That’s the word and that’s certainly the word he’s putting out and bitter about it.