Fahd Jassem al-Freij

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Fahd Jassem al-Freij
Fahd Jasem al-Freij.jpg
Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Army and the Armed Forces
Assumed office
18 July 2012
President Bashar Al-Assad
Preceded by Dawoud Rajiha
Deputy Prime Minister of Syria
Assumed office
23 June 2012
Prime Minister Riyad Farid Hijab
Wael Nader al-Halqi
Imad Khamis
Preceded by Abdullah al-Dardari
Minister of Defense
Assumed office
18 July 2012
Prime Minister Riyad Farid Hijab
Wael Nader al-Halqi
Imad Khamis
Preceded by Dawoud Rajiha
Chief of the General Staff of the Army and the Armed Forces
In office
8 August 2011 – 18 July 2012
President Bashar al-Assad
Defense Minister Dawoud Rajiha
Preceded by Dawoud Rajiha
Succeeded by Ali Abdullah Ayyoub
Personal details
Born (1950-01-01) 1 January 1950 (age 67)
Hama, Syria
Political party Syrian Regional Branch of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party
Military service
Allegiance  Syria
Service/branch Syrian Arab Army
Years of service 1971-Present
Rank Syria-Feriq Awal.jpg Colonel General
Unit Armoured Corps
Commands Special Forces Operations Staff

Fahd Jassem al-Freij (Arabic: فهد جاسم الفريج‎‎)[1] (born 17 January 1950) is the Minister of Defense of Syria, taking office on 18 July 2012.

Early life and education[edit]

Freij was born in Hama in a Sunni Arab tribe on 17 January 1950. He joined the Syrian Arab Army in 1968, and graduated as an armoured corps lieutenant from the Homs Military Academy in 1971.

Freij attended different courses and a higher military education:

  • Bachelor in Military Sciences, Armoured Officer, Homs Military Academy, in 1971,
  • Staff Course,
  • Airborne paratroops course,
  • General Command and Staff Course,
  • Higher Staff Course (War Course).


On 8 August 2011, Freij was appointed Chief of Staff of the Syrian Arab Army during the Syrian civil war. In December 2011, defected Syrian Army officers reported that prior to his appointment of Chief of Staff, al-Freij commanded the Syrian Army Special Forces in the regions of Daraa, Idlib and Hama during the Syrian uprising.

However, on 18 July 2012, after Defense Minister Dawoud Rajiha was assassinated in the 2012 Damascus bombing, Freij was appointed by Bashar al-Assad to succeed Rajiha.[1] He was also named as Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Army and the Armed Forces.[2]

Accusations of crimes against humanity[edit]

A report released by Amnesty International on February 7, 2017, alleges that Freij is complicit in the killings of up to 13,000 individuals tried and convicted in secret military courts. Specifically, the report alleges that Freij's signature--or, alternatively, that of the Syrian Chief of the General Staff--was one of two needed for a death warrant issued by the secret courts to be implemented, and also that he witnessed the executions of those condemned by the military courts on several occasions.