Doha: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad`s cousin Hilal al-Assad has been killed along with seven of his fighters while fighting against rebels in the border town of Kasab in the country`s Latakia province.
Hilal Al-Assad, leader of the pro-government National Defence Force (NDF), was killed Sunday with seven other NDF elements who were with him during clashes against the rebel groups Jabhat Al-Nusra and Islamic battalions in Kasab town, London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in a statement Monday.
In a separate statement, the Jaish al-Islam claimed responsibility for the killing.
"The first rocket was fired around 7.15 p.m. (Sunday), 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," Al Jazeera quoted Jaish al-Islam as saying in its statement.
Syrian officials said the opposition fighters were coming from the Turkey side of the border.
The battle in Kasab broke out 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.