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President Assad’s cousin martyred in fighting near Turkey borders

Bashar Assad’s cousin killed in fighting near Turkey bordersClashes between Syrian army and radical militant groups near Turkey borders has left a cousin of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad dead.
Syrian State television said that Hilal Assad, a cousin of the president and local leader of the National Defense Force militia, which has been supporting the army’s efforts to secure the border, was killed in the Kasab-area fighting.
Heavy clashes over Kasab crossing have been going on since Friday.
The conflict in the area has been marked with rising tensions between Syria and Turkey, as Damascus has criticized the government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for providing support and even covering for the militant forces to crush the Syrian army.
Turkish military shot down a Syrian fighter jet on Sunday, while it was engaged in fighting with militants, saying that it entered Turkish airspace.
Syria has blasted Turkish army’s move as a ‘blatant aggression’ as the jet was targeted inside Syria and fell seven kilometers away from the Turkish border, official SANA news agency reported.
The battles over Kasab are part of an Anfal campaign announced Friday by al-Qaeda’s al-Nusra Front and the Ahrar al-Sham and Ansar al-Sham, all radical armed groups.
Syria sank into war in March 2011 when pro-reform protests turned into a massive insurgency following the intervention of Western and regional states.
The unrest, which took in terrorist groups from across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, has transpired as one of the bloodiest conflicts in recent history.

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