Current Position of Service
Commander of the Republican Guard
Place of birth: Al-Qardaha, Latakia, 1/12/1958
Specialization: The Army and Armed Forces – Republican Guard
Talal Makhlouf joined the Syrian army at an early stage and rose very quickly through its ranks due to his membership in the Makhlouf family, of which Bashar al-Assad’s mother, Anisa Makhlouf, was a member. He was also close to Bassel al-Assad, with whom he took the engineering commanders course.
With the outbreak of the Syrian revolution in 2011, Talal Makhlouf commanded the Republican Guard’s 105th Brigade at the rank of brigadier general. This was an assault brigade which had a prominent role in the repression and killing of the unarmed protesters taking part in peaceful demonstrations and sit-ins in Douma and Harasta in the Damascus countryside as well as in Nawa in the Daraa province.
As a result of his criminal record, Talal Makhlouf’s name was included in a report by the Human Rights Watch organization released on 15/12/2011 titled, “By All Means Necessary! Individual and Command Responsibility for Crimes against Humanity in Syria.” According to testimonies of fighters from the 105th Brigade, which Talal Makhlouf had commanded, he had ordered firing on protesters. The examples of the orders to kill documented by Human Rights Watch included:
– “Ahmed,” a soldier with the Republican Guard, who was deployed in Douma in April 2011, said that Brigadier General Talal Makhlouf, commander of the 105th Brigade of the Republican Guard, gave his unit verbal orders to “suppress the protest and shoot if people refuse to disperse.”
– “Jamal,” another soldier from the 105th Brigade, also said that Brigadier General Talal Makhlouf gave verbal orders to “shoot at protesters.” He said: “On August 27 we were near a police hospital in Harasta. About 1,500 protesters came there. They requested the release of an injured protester who was inside the hospital. They held olive branches. They had no arms. There were 35 army soldiers and about 50 mukhabarat personnel at the checkpoint. We also had a jeep with a mounted machine-gun. When the protesters were less than 100 meters away, we opened fire. We had previously received the orders to do so from the Brigadier General. Five protesters were hit, and I believe two of them died.”
In the sanctions list published by Switzerland at the end of 2011, Talal Makhlouf was among 19 military and civilian figures listed, and was also subject to punitive sanctions by the European Union as a result of the crimes he carried out or participated in against civilians.
The General Talal Makhlouf has also been subject to sanctions by the British government since 2015, as well as American Treasury Department sanctions since the start of 2017 and was included on a list published by the department listed 17 Syrian regime officials and six other entities under the regime’s authority for their role in the Syrian regime’s monstrous crimes against the Syrian people.
Sources indicate that the warehouses of the 105th Brigade, led by Talal Makhlouf, were used to store chemical materials from “Institute 1000”, affiliated with the Scientific Research Center. The chemical materials were transported over the course of the week before international inspectors arrived to Syria to carry out Security Council Resolution 2118 in April 2013.
Talal Makhlouf had a prominent role in concluding the deals for the weapons which were used against unarmed civilians. Military sources revealed that he had signed a deal for American-made arms from Ukraine at the end of 2014 through an officer at the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, Peter Mehed. These weapons were transported to Syria through the Odessa port. The full report can be viewed in Ukrainian, with the relevant documents included at the end of this report.
At the start of January 2016, Brigadier General Talal Makhlouf was appointed commander of the Republican Guard, following General Badeea Hassan Ali, under whom General Talal had previously served as deputy. Under his command, the Republican Guard played a major role in the massacres in eastern Aleppo, and after control was imposed on the area, he gave every soldier who participated a reward of 50,000 Syria lira — especially in the areas of Bani Zaid, al-Leermoon, and al-Kasteel — as well as to the soldiers who fought in Maydaa and Housh al-Fara in the Damascus Ghouta.
Under his commander, Republican Guard forces also participated in crimes and violations which occurred during the regime’s campaign to take control of Wadi Barada and the eastern Ghouta. General Talal bears responsibility for all the crimes committed by the 105th Brigade in particular and the Republican Guard in general through the period of his command, when thousands of residents of Aleppo, Homs, Damascus and the Damascus countryside in the eastern Ghouta, western Ghouta and Wadi Barada were killed, and hundreds of thousands of others displaced.