It is true, Maher Al-Assad, according to my sources, is known to be brutal, even during his school years, as he reportedly was the torture type bully. The Arab way is to put the blame on one person, where-as here there is an institution of torture and repression. A schoolmate of Maher told The Arab Digest that his father designated a Mukhabarat officer, a member of the feared intelligence services, to oversee his upbringing. Maher and a friend of his used to torture his fellow students "for fun". "Once, they took someone from our class to rape him with a cucumber", his friend says.
"Maher al-Assad heads the Syrian Army’s elite Fourth Division and Republican Guard, while wielding great influence in Syria’s powerful intelligence services, analysts say. In the nearly three-month uprising, he has emerged as a lightning rod of dissent over his perceived role in the ferocious crackdown that has led to the deaths of 1,300 people, by activists’ count, and the arrests of more than 10,000".
"According to several Syrians who know Maher al-Assad, he is highly intelligent, well organized, and cruel — and he has tried to make over Syria’s army and intelligence services in his own image. According to Joshua Landis, an historian of Syria who teaches at the University of Oklahoma, the Assad brothers were carefully groomed by their father for their respective roles: Bashar, the dignified leader, and Maher, the enforcer."