Two cousins of Syrian President Bashar Assad were killed Monday, opposition sources inside Syria said, bringing the death toll of Assad’s relatives killed over the last days to three.
Ali and Kifah Assad were both killed in or near the Alawite enclave of Latakia, a rebel commander who identified himself as Abu Adnan, told The Times of Israel.
It was not clear if the two were killed in battles near the town of Kasab, close to the road to Turkey, or by opposition shelling over the city of Latakia, an Assad stronghold, said Abu Adnan, who is one of the commanders of the so-called Revolutionary Group Inside Syria.
On Sunday, Hillal Assad, another cousin of Bashar Assad, was killed in the same areas. Initial reports indicated that Hillal was killed during battles in Kasab, but Abu Adnan said he was assassinated by a group of Alawite Syrians fighting against the regime of Bashar Assad.
He added that fighting over Kasab was ongoing, and that rebels had managed to take the town’s square.
Syrian state media said Hillal Assad, who headed of the National Defense Forces, was killed near Kasab, 59 kilometers north of Latakia.
The National Defense Forces, a paramilitary force subordinate to the Syrian Army, is believed to be modeled after Iran’s Basij militia, and trained by Iran.
According to a statement published by a rebel group known as the Islamic Front, Hillal Assad was killed by a Grad rocket in Latakia around 7:15 p.m. They claimed that Hillal Assad was meeting with commanders in the home of Fawwaz Assad — the son of former president Hafez Assad’s brother.
Activists and state media reported earlier on Sunday that Syrian troops battled opposition fighters for control of a border post on the Turkish frontier.
Rebels have been on the offensive since Friday in the border area of northwestern Latakia province, where they captured a crossing point into Turkey.