Then-Col. Bashar Assad (left) and Manaf Tlass in 1999. Tlass, now a brigadier general, has reportedly defected and is headed to France. Raed Qutena /AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Syrian General Defects, Heads To France As Assad's Opponents Meet There
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From the Human Rights Watch report: "Detainees described being folded at the waist and having their head, neck, and legs put into a car tire so that they were immobilized and could not protect themselves from beatings on the back, legs, and head including by batons and whips." Human Rights Watch hide caption

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'Torture Centers' Stretch Across Syria, Human Rights Watch Reports
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May 26, 2012: In this picture provided by the Syrian opposition's Shaam News Network, people watch the mass burial of victims in Houla. AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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A Syrian boy sits in the rubble of house destroyed during a military operation in April in the town of Taftanaz, Syria. AP hide caption

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NPR's Deborah Amos, reporting from Damascus
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