[QODLink]
Middle East

Assad cousin killed in Syria's Latakia

Cousin of President Bashar al-Assad killed in battles with rebel fighters near border with Turkey.

Last updated: 24 Mar 2014 21:05
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Hilal al-Assad, a cousin of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has been killed along with seven of his fighters during fighting in the border town of Kasab in Latakia province, after shells from rebels targeted his vehicle.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an activist group, reported Assad's death. It was confirmed by Syrian state television, which described Hilal as the head of the National Defence Force in the province of Latakia.

Hilal founded the National Defence Army, a group of pro-government civilians fighting alongside the Syrian army.

The Syrian rebel group Jaish al-Islam claimed responsibility for the killing in a statement published on its website.

"The first rocket was fired around 7:15pm, followed by another five minutes later. The rockets targeted a house where Hilal was holding a meeting with other members of the National Defence Army” the statement said.

On Sunday, activists and state media reported clashes near the town of Kasab and said both sides were dispatching reinforcements. Syrian officials said the opposition fighters were coming from inside Turkey.

The battle for Kasab broke out on Friday and at least 80 fighters on both sides have been killed.

Latakia province, which includes Assad's family village, is considered a government stronghold and many of its residents are from his Alawite minority. 

207

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Students kept from using screen-based technology for five days showed improvement in recognizing emotion, US study says.
Frustration grows in Kiev as pledges to end corruption and abuse of power stagnate after Maidan Square protest.
Thousands of Houthi supporters have called for the fall of Yemen's government. But what do the Houthis really want?
New ration reductions and movement restrictions have refugees from Myanmar anxious about their future in Thailand.
US lawyers say poor translations of election materials disenfranchise Native voters.
join our mailing list