Hafez or Hafiz, Amin al- (ämēnˈ äl-häˈfəz) [key], 1921?–2009, Syrian army officer and politician. He served (1963–65) as chief of state in Syria's Ba'athist government (see Ba'ath party) but had to flee to Lebanon (1965) after radical Ba'athist military officers, led by Nurreddin Attassi and Hafez al-Assad, toppled his government in a coup. He moved his exile to Iraq in 1968 and was sentenced to death in absentia in 1971. Under Bashar al-Assad, who became president in 2000, Hafez was permitted to return (2003) to Syria.
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