World Bulletin / News Desk
Bashar Assad has arrested and placed its intelligence chief under house arrest after suspecting he was plotting a coup.
The head of the country's National Security Bureau, Ali Mamlouk, who is one of a handful of officials that have access to President Bashar al-Assad, was accused of holding secret talks with countries backing rebel groups and exiled members of the Syrian regime.
In a report to The Telegraph, Assad has been struggling to keep together the regime’s "inner circle" of the regime, who are now turning on each other, sources inside the presidential palace have told The Telegraph.
There are fears that suspected Iranian operatives in Syria are believed to have taken command of large areas of government, from the central bank to the battle strategy.
The role played in the war by Iran, Syria's regional ally, is said to be at the heart of the arguments, with some of the "inner circle" afraid that Iranian officials now have more power than they do.
"Most of the advisers at the presidential palace are now Iranian," said a source close to the palace. "Mamlouk hated that Syria was giving her sovereignty up to Iran. He thought there needed to be a change.”
Last month, Rustum Ghazaleh, the head of the political security directorate, died in hospital after severely beaten in early March upon orders from Syrian military intelligence Chief Lt. Gen. Rafik Shehadeh. He was moved to the Shami Hospital in Damascus after the beating.
“He was complaining that he and his men were being treated like scum, whilst the Iranians and their militias were lords,” he said.
The Assad egime in Syria is of critical importance to Iran, who uses Syria as the intermediary route in arming Hezbollah.
Iran has funded and has provided the expertise and the weapons for President Assad’s war.
Syria’s ailing economy would have collapsed if not for the credit facility provided by Tehran – more than $15 billion to date, according to Damascus’ finance minister.