Damascus, Syria – The family of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad mourned Mohammed Tawfiq al-Assad (aka Sheikh al-Jabal), one of the Syrian president’s cousins, who died under ambiguous circumstances on Friday in the Syrian coastal city of Latakia.
Images of the victim with the Syrian president were published on social media sites on a large scale coupled with another image of the obituary which included the date of the funeral.
There are conflicting reports about the circumstances of Tawfiq’s death, but pro-regime media confirmed that he was killed while fighting rebels in the countryside of Latakia.
“Tawfiq was martyred while performing his national duty,” pro-Assad media sources reported on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that rifts emerged between him and an influential figure in Qardahah (Assad’s hometown) “and Tawfiq was shot in the head”.
Commenting on the event, the Syrian media activist Atif Rasheed told ARA News that there is still a shortage in information about the ongoing battles in the countryside of Latakia, adding that it’s not clear yet who leads pro-Assad forces at the battlefronts there.
“If Tawfiq al-Assad was part of those battles, especially in Doreen area, then he is absolutely killed by the rebels,” he said, pointing out that the information he received about the victim showed that he has nothing to do with the army. “Tawfiq and his family only worked in business. He was never involved in the clashes.”
Other pro-opposition sources reported that the Assad’s cousin was killed by rebel sniper fire from alleged sleeper cells in Qardahah.
Noteworthy, Hilal al-Assad, another cousin of the Syrian president and former commander of the National Defense Army militia, was killed nearly one year ago in the countryside of Latakia with a number of his guards during battles with the al-Nusra Front (Syria’s branch of al-Qaeda) in Kassab area.
Tawfiq al-Assad is known as one of the Syrian mafia men who carried out many smuggling operations, especially between Lebanon and Syria, according to pro-opposition sources.
Reporting by: Adel Hassan
Source: ARA News
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