Assad’s cousin, Housam, captured by opposition brigade: senior preacher


Syrian opposition forces have captured Housam al-Assad, the cousin of the embattled President Bashar al-Assad, a senior religious figure has announced.

Assad’s cousin was captured by al-Farouq brigade of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), Sheikh Adnan Al Arour, a Sunni Muslim preacher and a major Salafist leader in Syria, announced on his Twitter account Sunday.

“Housam al-Assad, the cousin of dog Bashar has been captured by al-Farouq Brigade and brought him in like a pig, so that you know, oh Russia and Iran who the Syrian people are,” Sheikh Arour said.

The sheikh has become one of the Syrian uprising’s symbolic figures and a source of motivation for those who aspire for ousting the regime of President Al Assad in Syria.

The 73-year-old Arour fled Syria under the rule of Hafez Al Assad following the 1982 Massacre in his hometown of Hama and settled in Saudi Arabia ever since.

Sheikh Arour is seen by many as a moderate Sunni cleric who supports democratic reforms and who has long stood against the Baathist regime.

Meanwhile, on the frontlines Syrian troops shelled areas of Homs city and the Houla region where they clashed with rebels on Saturday, as a monitoring group said rebels seized a village near the Turkish border.

Rebels captured Khirbat al-Joz in the northwest province of Idlib near the border after a fierce battle in which 25 troops and three insurgents were killed, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Nearly 80 percent of towns and villages along the Turkish border are outside the control of Damascus, according to the group.

AFP correspondent have passed through large swathes of territory in the Idlib and Aleppo provinces of northern Syria that have fallen outside government control, with residents managing their own affairs.

Four civilians, including a woman, and six rebels were killed in the Houla region of the central province of Homs in clashes and shelling by regime forces, the Britain-based Observatory said.