Hafez al-Assad

 

 

 

Age: 69

 

Summary: dictatorial president of Syria who presided over the country with an iron fist since leading a 1971 military coup and transformed the once significant Syria into a Middle East power amid ongoing hostility with Israel, but who in 1982 had ordered the arrest, torture, and execution of members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which had launched a rebellion in Hama until he was later cautiously embraced by Western governments when he condemned Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and sent troops to help defend Saudi Arabia from potential Iraqi attack before Israeli-Syrian talks resumed in December 1999 after a nearly four-year hiatus, but soon broke down when Syria demanded the return of the entire Golan Heights, and whose son Bashar al-Assad was an ophthalmologist and assumed the helm.

 

 

Cause of Death: Heart attack

 

Born: October 6, 1930

 

Died: June 10, 2000

 

Location: Damascus, Syria