Amin al-Hafiz

Amin al-Hafiz (Arabic: أمين الحافظ, romanizedAmīn al-Ḥāfiẓ12 November 1921[1] – 17 December 2009),[2] also known as Amin Hafez was a Syrian politician, general, and member of the Ba'ath Party who served as the President of Syria from 27 July 1963 to 23 February 1966.

Amin Al-Hafiz
أمين الحافظ
Amin al-Hafez 1965.jpg
Regional Secretary of the Regional Command of the Syrian Regional Branch
In office
4 October 1964 – 19 December 1965
Secretary GeneralMichel Aflaq
Munif al-Razzaz
Preceded byShibli al-Aysami
Succeeded byNureddin al-Atassi
(Regional Command dissolved in December 1965, new Regional Secretary elected in March 1966)
President of Syria
In office
27 July 1963 – 23 February 1966
Vice PresidentMuhammad Umran
Nureddin al-Atassi
Shibli al-Aysami
Preceded byLu'ay al-Atassi
Succeeded byNureddin al-Atassi
Prime Minister of Syria
In office
4 October 1964 – 23 September 1965
Preceded bySalah al-Din Bitar
Succeeded byYusuf Zu'ayyin
In office
12 November 1963 – 13 May 1964
Preceded bySalah al-Din Bitar
Succeeded bySalah al-Din Bitar
Member of the National Command of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party
In office
23 October 1963 – 23 February 1966
Member of the Regional Command of the Syrian Regional Branch
In office
1 February 1964 – 19 December 1965
Personal details
Born(1921-11-12)12 November 1921
Aleppo, State of Aleppo
Died17 December 2009(2009-12-17) (aged 88)
Aleppo, Syria
Political partySyrian Regional Branch of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party
Spouse(s)Zeinab al-Hafiz
Military career
Allegiance Syria
Service/branchSyrian Arab Army
Years of service1938–1966
RankSyria-Feriq.jpg General of the Army


Early lifeEdit

Al-Hafiz was born in the city of Aleppo.[citation needed]

Rise to powerEdit

Hafiz (right) with Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser on his arrival to Cairo for the Arab League summit, 1964.

The 1963 Syrian coup d'état, led by the Military Committee, introduced al-Hafiz to public life. In the aftermath of the coup, the National Council of the Revolutionary Command (NCRC) became the country's supreme organ. The NCRC was dominated by the Syrian branch of the radical, pan-Arab Ba'ath Party. Al-Hafiz became President, instituted socialist reforms, and oriented his country towards the Eastern Bloc.


On 23 February 1966, al-Hafiz was overthrown by a radical Ba'athist faction headed by Chief of Staff Salah Jadid.[3][4] A late warning telegram of the coup d'état was sent from Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser to Nasim al-Safarjalani (The General Secretary of Presidential Council), on the early morning of the coup d'état. The coup sprung out of factional rivalry between Jadid's "regionalist" (qutri) camp of the Ba'ath Party, which promoted ambitions for a Greater Syria, and the more traditionally pan-Arab al-Hafiz faction, called the "nationalist" (qawmi) faction. Jadid's supporters were also seen as more radically left-wing.[5] The coup was also supported and led by officers from Syria's religious minorities, especially the Alawites and the Druze, whereas al-Hafiz belonged to the majority Sunni population.

Exile and returnEdit

After being wounded in the three-hour shootout that preceded the coup, in which two of his children were seriously injured, al-Hafiz was jailed in Damascus's Mezzeh prison before being sent to Lebanon in June 1967. A year later, he was relocated to Baghdad. In 1971, the courts of Damascus sentenced him to death in absentia; however, Saddam Hussein "treated him and his fellow exile, Ba'ath founder Michel Aflaq, like royalty", and the sentence was not carried out.[6] After the fall of Saddam in the Iraq War of 2003, al-Hafiz was quietly allowed to return to Syria.[7] He died in Aleppo on December 17, 2009; reports of his age differ, but he was believed to be in his late 80s.[2][8] He received a state-sponsored funeral.[6]

Popular cultureEdit

Amin al-Hafiz was portrayed by Waleed Zuaiter in the Netflix series The Spy.


  1. ^ "Celebrity Astrology & Numerology - celebrity horoscopes astrology directory".
  2. ^ a b Syria-news Archived 2011-10-05 at the Wayback Machine (in Arabic)
  3. ^ "Amin al-Hafez obituary". The Guardian. London. Associated Press. 16 February 2010. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  4. ^ "Salah Jadid, 63, Leader of Syria Deposed and Imprisoned by Assad". The New York Times. Associated Press. August 24, 1993. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  5. ^ "Syria:Coups and Countercoups, 1961-70". Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  6. ^ a b Joffe, Lawrence (16 February 2010). "Amin al-Hafez obituary: Leader of Syria's first Ba'athist regime". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  7. ^ Anthony Shadid (May 18, 2005). "Syria Heralds Reforms, But Many Have Doubts". The Washington Post. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  8. ^ AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE (December 18, 2009). "Amin el-Hafez, Baathist Leader of Syria in 1960s, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 May 2012.