Former President Amin al-Hafez at his Aleppo residence in 2009.

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Image Source: Yehya Rekab Archive

Amin al-Hafez rose to fame with the Baathist coup of March 8, 1963. He served briefly as Interior Minister in March-July 1963, then became head of state, with full presidential powers, until an internal Baath coup toppled him in February 1966. He was arrested after a fierce battle at the gates of his residence in Damascus, where his daughter was wounded in the eye. Hafez spent time in jail and was released in 1967, after Syria's defeat in its second war with Israel. Amin al-Hafez went to Iraq where he was a guest of the Iraqi Baath regime until it too was overthrown by the 2003 US invasion. He returned to his native Aleppo, where he died at the age of 88 on December 17, 2009.