Many Syrian people sacrificed their lives to prevent their homeland from splitting in a long-standing war against terrorism. Suheil “the Tiger” al-Hasan, one of the most famous SAA commanders, sets a shining example of devotion to duty. His diligence and dedication allowed him to get the rank of Brigadier General and earn the respect of his subordinates.
Suheil – a thin, tall, neat and charismatic man – is one of the first graduates of the Syrian Arab Air Force Academy in Homs. He graduated in 1991 in the rank of lieutenant. He is Alawite by faith like the current President of Syria Bashar al-Assad. The General is known to have a little son that he has not seen for more than 5 years. In an interview, Suheil al-Hasan once said that he vowed to meet his son only after a complete victory over jihadists.
Retired Brigadier General from Jordan Nadji al-Zubi says General Suheil is the illustration of a selfless fighter who serves to protect his homeland’s honor and dignity. “His decision not to see his family”, al-Zubi outlined, “is a desperate challenge he set for himself in his bid to liberate his country from terrorists.”
Suheil al-Hasan committed to fighting against al-Qaida terrorists when they became active in Syria in 2005-2006, long before the outbreak of the civil war. Then-Colonel Suheil al-Hasan proved effective in the service. He was transferred to Special Forces of the SAA in 2011. When the war began, he fought against the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists in his small homeland – the province of Latakia, where he managed to thwart the jihadists and prevent them from capturing key coastal cities. Suheil then was transferred to the province of Hama, where severe fighting against jihadi forces took place.
The SAA servicemen nicknamed Suheil al-Hasan “The Tiger” for his lack of fear. After his success in 2013, he got a generous reward – he was instructed to prepare a special unit to primarily conduct offensive operations. Many of soldiers were personally selected by Suheil and now his “Tigers” is the most combat-capable unit in Syria.
His brothers-in-arms regard their General to be a well-disciplined man who strictly follows military regulations. The commander of the “Tigers” is also considered to be one of the most prominent corruption-fighter in the military. His soldiers are forbidden from marauding under the threat of execution by firing squad.
The popularity of the “Tigers” is so high that many Syrian military men dream of fighting under the command of General Suheil. There are 80, 000 soldiers in his unit now. It is highly trained and regularly paid military personnel.
The “Tigers” were transferred to the province of Hama after carrying out a successful offensive in the province of Aleppo, where they took up arms against militant groups in a number of fierce clashes. The young Syrian commander impressed leaders of the Syrian Army after he managed to successfully liberate two cities – Murek and Kafr Zita, North Ham province. After that, he was invited to lead all the SAA forces in Hama. It meant the promotion to Brigadier General but Suheil al-Hasan declined. He explained that he wanted to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with his subordinates on the battlefield.
With this decision made, Suheil became a living legend for to the other service members. The “Tigers” then were sent from Hama to the East of Homs province to help the Syrian Army retake a large gas field in Ash Shaer. Suheyl’s forces successfully completed this task in a month, and by the end of 2014 the entire area was cleared of ISIS.
In 2015, the “Tigers” fought against jihadists in the province of Idlib. The same year in the summer, one of Suheil’s bodyguards was killed by enemy sniper fire in an assassination attempt. The colonel got off with a minor wound and was again seen on the front line in Aleppo in August. By that time his troops gained a significant advance, liberated numerous villages, and broke a three-year siege from the Kuweyris military airbase, southeast of the province.
In February 2016, the “Tigers” were once again transferred to Aleppo. They were tasked to restore important supply routes near the city of Hanasser. Suheil al-Hasan forces drove the terrorists back in 8 days and cleared Hanasser from ISIS, managing to restore the Itria-Aleppo rout known as “road of life”.
The battle for the Kuweires airbase became a symbol of courage and a turning point in Suheil’s military career. 600 soldiers were besieged by ISIS terrorists and had to shatter persistent attacks of the superior enemy forces. The SAA launched an operation to break the siege of Kuweires. The entire concept of the operation was provided by Colonel Suheil al-Hasan. His “Tigers” joined the operation in mid-October and the besieged airbase was released by early November.
It was after that that Hasan was promoted to Major General. He skipped the rank of Brigadier General he refused to be promoted to a year earlier, becoming the youngest General of the Syrian army.
Under the leadership of their permanent commander Suheil al-Hasan, the “Tigers” carried on with their successful offensive against ISIS. Soon, they liberated the entire province of Aleppo, and the west bank of the Euphrates, stretching across the provinces of Rakka and Deir ez-Zor.
The city of Deir ez-Zor was liberated with the direct participation of the “Tigers”, after a three-year siege. Over the past 2 months, Suheil has led a mop up operation in the area, stretching from the right bank of the Euphrates to the Iraqi border. He is now close to successfully completing this task.
On December 11, 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Khmeimim airbase in the province of Latakia, where he met Bashar al-Asad and General Suheil al-Hasan. This meeting boosted the morale of Russian and Syrian soldiers and demonstrated close Russian-Syrian military cooperation. Suheil’s presence at the meeting shows that leaders of the two countries heed the words of the respected General who is always on the frontlines.
A Russian serviceman who saved a Syrian Officer was also present at the meeting. Accomplishing such a feat is an important marker that demonstrates cohesion and integrity between Russian and Syrian armies, President Bashar al-Asad outlined.
A Lebanese military expert Charles Abi Nader is convinced that Suheil al-Hasan has played a crucial role in Syria’s victory over terrorism. Suheil has always been on the frontlines which helped him to better understand forces posture and meticulously plan all the operations always leading to the governmental forces winning. Besides, the legendary General standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the soldiers boosted their morale dramatically.
Al-Hasan is widely known for his loyalty to President Bashar al-Assad. He is Asad’s closest military commander and trusted to take the most critical and dangerous tasks.
Throughout his military career, General Suheil al-Hasan became one of the most respected people in the Syrian Arab Republic. Qualities he applies both on the battlefield and in the command of his units became a symbol of his take-it-or-leave-it approach to fighting down the enemy. As the President’s closest confidant, Suheil has always demonstrated devotion and readiness to perform the most difficult tasks.
The presidential election will be held in Syria in 2021. Bashar al-Assad hinted many times he was ready to cede his post to an experienced and energetic candidate. As a living legend General Suheil al-Hasan has all chances to make a worthy successor to the post of national leader. This opinion is highly supported on social media by the Syrian people. Many users, who support Suheil al-Hasan, react to every news piece related to the great success of this nobleman with battery of approving comments. Some of them ask him to continue his fight for Syria’s future on the political stage. Syrian people consider him one of the men who will restore Syria’s former greatness in the Middle East undermined by years of civil war.