A Syrian general and personal friend of President Bashar al-Assad, who was apparently sidelined a year ago, has defected and fled Syria.
The brigade commander in Assad's Republican Guard, has left the country and will soon announce that he abandoned Assad because of anger over civilian deaths during the 16-month uprising.
Tlas is the son of Mustafa Tlas, who served as defense minister for 30 years under former president Hafez al-Assad and briefly under his son, the current president.
Tlas' house in Damascus was ransacked on Thursday by security agents after these reports.
Tlas has embarked on several unsuccessful reconciliation missions between government loyalists and rebels in Rastan and the southern province of Daraa.
A member in the elite Republican Guard, Tlas was sidelined more than a year ago, after he was deemed unreliable.
Months later he gave up his military uniform and opted for civilian clothing. He set up residence in Damascus, where he let his beard and hair grow long.
Tlas' relations with the authorities became irreconcilable after the fierce assault on the Homs district of Bab Amr in February this year.
The father of Tlas, who served as defense minister between 1972 and 2004, was in office during the 1982 Hama Massacre, which left between 20,000 and 48,000 people dead.