Syrians were shocked with the news of appointing Maher Al-Assad, brother of Bashar Al-Assad, commander of the Syrian Army’s elite 4th Mechanized Division, as revealed by Russia Today Website and other pro-regime sites.
What caused the shock is that the name of Maher Al-Assad has been associated with the 4th Mechanized Division as the commander but it turned out that he was the commander of battalion 42 in the 4th Mechanized Division.
This coincided with news that the Tiger Forces, led by Colonel Suheil al-Hassan, moved from Russia towards the south of Damascus to lead military operations launched by the regime forces there. These operations actually failed after one week of bombarding towns in the south of the capital.
Maher Al-Assad, born in 1967, studied mechanical engineering at Damascus University before he enrolled in the military academy then started serving at the 4th division. He was promoted in the summer of the past year.
The 4th Mechanized Division was formed in 1984 from the Defense Companies, established by Rifaat al-Assad, brother of deceased former president Hafez Al-Assad, in 1982. Defense Companies had a key role in Hama incidents, back then.
After the failure of Rifaat al-Assad coup over his brother, the Defense Companies were merged with the regime army and together were called the 4th Mechanized Division. It has now become one of the major divisions with around 15,000 members.
Opposing parties attribute the most bloody raids in Damascus countryside and Daraa in the beguiling of the revolution to the 4th Mechanized Division.