Nureddin Atassi; Ex-President of Syria, Toppled in Coup
Nureddin Atassi, 63, ousted former president of Syria who spent 22 years in jail. Atassi was president from 1966 to 1970, when he was toppled in a coup by Hafez al-Assad, his former ally and the current president of Syria. Assad, who had Atassi placed under house arrest, blamed Atassi for Syria’s loss of the Golan Heights to Israel in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. The human rights group Amnesty International reported that Atassi was incarcerated in the notorious al-Mezze military prison in Damascus, although he was never charged or tried. He was hospitalized after a heart attack last spring and was recently sent to Paris for treatment. On Thursday in Paris of cancer.