In For the Kill

A U.N. murder investigation points the finger at Syria's ruling clan. An inside look at the forces that could lead to Assad's downfall

Bashar Assad likes to be seen. In Damascus, the Syrian President is often spotted dining at a smart restaurant with his wife Asma or driving his family to their weekend retreat in the mountains. Since succeeding his father Hafez as President in 2000, Assad has left the dirty work of running Syria's ruthless intelligence and security organs to two members of his clan--his brother Maher, 37, commander of the Presidential Guard, and his brother-in-law, Assef Shawkat, 55, chief of Syrian military intelligence. They haven't always got along. About five years ago, Maher shot Shawkat in the stomach during a family dispute. Assad...

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