(, born 8 December 1967) is the brother of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad
and the commander of the Republican Guard
and the army's elite Fourth Armored Division
, which together with Syria's secret police form the core of the country's security forces.
Early life, education, and family
Maher al-Assad was born on 8 December 1967, the youngest child of Aniseh (née Makhlouf) and Hafez al-Assad
. He was just two years old when his father became president of Syria. Like the other children in the Assad family
, he was raised out of the public spotlight. Maher went to the Academy of Freedom School for his secondary education and then studied business at Damascus University
. Following university he pursued a career in the military like his older brother Basil Assad
who was being groomed to be his father's successor. When Basil died in a car crash in 1994, he was mentioned as a possible successor to Hafez, but in the end, Bashar succeeded his father even though he lacked the military experience and political ambition. It was speculated that Maher's reputation as hot-tempered influenced the decision in favour of Bashar.
Maher is married to Manal (née al-Jadaan) with... Read More