Mohammed Dib Zaitoun

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Mohammed Dib Zaitoun
محمد ديب زيتون
General Security Directorate
Assumed office
25 July 2012
PresidentBashar al-Assad
Prime MinisterRiyad Farid Hijab
Preceded byZouheir Hamad
Political Security Directorate
In office
Preceded byMuhammad Mansoura
Succeeded byRustum Ghazali
Personal details
Born (1951-02-21) 21 February 1951 (age 68)
Damascus, Syria
Military service
AllegianceSyria Syria
Branch/serviceSyrian Arab Army
Years of service1971-2009
RankSyria-Liwa.jpg Major General
UnitMechanized Infantry
Military Intelligence
Commands10th Mechanized Division (1999-2007)
General Security Directorate Second in Command (2007-2009)
Political Security Directorate(2009-2012)
General Security Directorate (2012-)
Battles/warsSyrian civil war

Mohammed Dib Zaitoun (Arabic: محمد ديب زيتون‎; born 20 Feb 1951) is the current head of the Syrian General Security Directorate and a close adviser of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.[1] He is one of many officials sanctioned by the European Union for their actions against protesters participating in the Syrian civil war.[2]


Maj Gen Dib Zaitoun was born in Damascus to a Sunni family.[3] His father was a Sergeant in the Syrian Army. He was commissioned as a Lieutenant in a Mechanized Infantry regiment in the Syrian Arab Army in November 1971 after graduating from the 3-year long officer course at the Homs Military Academy. Before taking up his current position as head of the General Security Directorate, he was the head of the Political Security Directorate (PSD). He took over the PSD position in 2009 after the previous head Muhammad Mansoura was removed because of his involvement in organized smuggling activity on the Syrian Iraqi border.[4] Before being head of the PSD, Dib Zaitoun had been the deputy head of the General Security Directorate during which time he was asked, along with other members of the president’s inner circle, to investigate the assassination in 2008 of Hezbollah’s Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus.[1][5]

Syrian uprising

At the start of the Syrian uprising, Dib Zaitoun became one of nine members of the government’s “crisis cell” which was tasked with handling the protests and the violent crack down on protesters.[6] After the 18 July 2012 bombing of the crisis management cell and the death of four key members of the crisis management team, Dib Zaitoun was elevated to head the General Security Directorate and his previous position as head of the Political Security Directorate was taken over by Rustum Ghazali.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Bashar al-Assad's inner circle". BBC News. 18 May 2011.
  2. ^ "Joint Proposal for a COUNCIL REGULATION concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Syria and repealing Regulation (EU) No 442/2011". EuroLex. 52011PC0887. 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2012.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Sarg Director Of The Political Security Department Sacked". US Embassy (Syria). 9 March 2009. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  5. ^ "Considering a Palace Coup in Syria". Global Intelligence, Stratfor. 8 July 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  6. ^ Khoury, Rana (20 April 2012). "Assad's 'Crisis Cell' reveals Syrian regime in crisis". Al Arabiya. Retrieved 23 August 2012.