Assad’s brother-in-law Assef Shawkat confirmed dead

The brother-in-law of Syrian President Bashir al-Assad, who also is the troubled nation’s former intelligence chief, is dead after an apparent assassination attack Sunday in Damascus, Syrian opposition leaders tell U.S. News & World Report.

The Free Syrian Army, an armed opposition group that has been fighting Assad’s military for months, said Sunday it had killed six senior members of Assad’s cabinet. The Assad regime denied those claims, according to official state media reports, but it is often difficult to get accurate information out of the country.

It remained unclear into Monday evening in Damascus whether Assad’s brother-in-law, Assef Shawkat, had been killed in the alleged attack.

But a senior member of one Syrian opposition group says the organization has learned Shawkat has died.

The source says that “a special unit from the Free Syrian Army poisoned the meal” being consumed Saturday evening by Shawkat and other senior Assad regime officials. The source said opposition leaders do not believe the special unit received assistance from U.S., Western or regional intelligence agencies or militaries.

A White House spokesman said he could not confirm the claim of Shawkat’s alleged death.

Media reports from the region stated Assad’s interior minister, defense minister and a deputy to his vice president also had been attacked.

The hospital where the officials allegedly were taken “has been locked down for two days,” the opposition official says.

If Shawkat and other senior Assad cabinet officials are dead, “it would be a huge setback for the regime,” the opposition official says, because “this was the group leading the [conflict] for the regime.”

The opposition official’s claims that Shawkat has died in the Free Syrian Army’s multiple-assassination plot comes hours after Ivo Daalder, Washington’s ambassador to NATO, told reporters on Sunday evening that there is “no planning going on that’s related to a NATO role in Syria.”

Several Middle East nations have quietly been working to get more sophisticated arms to Syrian rebels, according to sources and media reports. The multiple-assassination plot suggests rebel forces are growing in sophistication and capability.

Khaddam confirms

Abdul Halim Khaddam , the former vice president of Syria confirmed that Assef Shawkat was been killed on 19 May, 2012

About Shawkat

General Assef Shawkat (1950 – 2012) was the deputy Minister of Defense of Syria since September 2011. He previously served as the army’s deputy chief of staff from July 2009 to September 2011. He then bypassed the position of chief of staff to become deputy Minister of Defense. Shawkat was considered one of the president’s top security chiefs, however, he was replaced in 2010 as head of Military Intelligence and made deputy chief-of-staff of the armed forces. Although he was also promoted, opposition figures said he was seen to have been at fault in the 2008 assassination of Hezbollah military commander Imad Mughniyeh in an area of Damascus that fell under his responsibility. He is a member of President Bashar al-Assad’s inner circle. Since the appointment of General Dawoud Rajiha to head the Ministry of Defense, Shawkat was an important figure in the Ministry of Defense, though the army is under the de facto control of Maher al-Assad, the president’s brother.

Born in 1950 to a middle-class Alawite family in Tartous, he studied law at Damascus University. He joined the army in the late 1970s.

He rose through the ranks, but his fortunes changed spectacularly in the mid-1990s when he married Bashar Assad’s only sister Bushra- despite misgivings from within the Assad family because he was a divorced father-of-five who was 10 years her senior. They eloped after the death of Basil al-Assad, who had objected to the match.

Khaddam said that Gen Shawkat was a “smart, cultivated, and courageous officer with great ambitions”, who had established ties with intelligence chiefs and other powerbrokers.

But there were reports of friction with Bashar’s brother, Maher, who is alleged to have shot him in the stomach in 1999. He was allegedly flown to Paris for treatment at a military hospital.

In 2005, Maher and Shawkat were both mentioned in a preliminary report by UN investigators as one of the people who might have planned the assassination of the former Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri.

The next year, Gen Shawkat was named a Specially Designated National (SDN) by the US, allowing his assets to be frozen. It said he had “been a key architect of Syria’s domination of Lebanon, as well as a fundamental contributor to Syria’s long-standing policy to foment terrorism”.

US news WR, BBC

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TAYJSYCECZXQQ3PDZ2Q4NII65A C S

    great news..burn in hell…

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TAYJSYCECZXQQ3PDZ2Q4NII65A C S

    great news..burn in hell…

  • breakthemould

    Will there be firing at his funeral? 

    • wargame1

      Good question. It would be a lesson for this beast family if they would fell in to such circumstances …such as …Assad family go to bury him and the free Syrian army snipers shot some of their family at the funeral and others flee, later they come back to collect the body the sniper shot again and one of them drops and the rest flee.Then they collect some long rope and tie the legs of those dead and pull the body from far away.I am sure this sounds familiar in Syrian uprising. 

      I have seen how these thugs opened fire on the protesters and then the sniper wait for other to collect the dead and kill them again. When they go to bury the dead the snipers shot them again.These low life thugs will be humiliated in Syria inshallah. 

  • breakthemould

    Will there be firing at his funeral? 

    • wargame1

      Good question. It would be a lesson for this beast family if they would fell in to such circumstances …such as …Assad family go to bury him and the free Syrian army snipers shot some of their family at the funeral and others flee, later they come back to collect the body the sniper shot again and one of them drops and the rest flee.Then they collect some long rope and tie the legs of those dead and pull the body from far away.I am sure this sounds familiar in Syrian uprising. 

      I have seen how these thugs opened fire on the protesters and then the sniper wait for other to collect the dead and kill them again. When they go to bury the dead the snipers shot them again.These low life thugs will be humiliated in Syria inshallah. 

  • Patience2

    Shawkat now, Maher soon and then, Bashar.

    • MeYosemite

      No need to go sequential… skip to the source.

  • Patience2

    Shawkat now, Maher soon and then, Bashar.

    • MeYosemite

      No need to go sequential… skip to the source.

  • wargame1

    The Lebanese lackey and Hezbushaitan will now have a chill through their spinal cord down to their balls

  • wargame1

    The Lebanese lackey and Hezbushaitan will now have a chill through their spinal cord down to their balls

  • wargame1

    I have seen one video ,Its an Arabic TV channel which says Maher Al Assad is also dead! Please search the following on Youtube

    “(ARABIC) FSA Spokesman confirms the death of Maher Al-Assad”

  • wargame1

    I have seen one video ,Its an Arabic TV channel which says Maher Al Assad is also dead! Please search the following on Youtube

    “(ARABIC) FSA Spokesman confirms the death of Maher Al-Assad”

  • 5thDrawer

    Always suspected army food … ;-)))))
    After this, there will be a row of prisoners in a side-room eating first.

  • 5thDrawer

    Always suspected army food … ;-)))))
    After this, there will be a row of prisoners in a side-room eating first.

  • JS Bach

    Allah la y riddak. I just wish they didn’t announce that “a special unit from the Free Syrian Army poisoned the meal”. I think that’s plain stupidity. Leave them wondering. Don’t confirm or deny or give any details. But still, if this news is true allah la y riddo and may he rot in hell.

  • JS Bach

    Allah la y riddak. I just wish they didn’t announce that “a special unit from the Free Syrian Army poisoned the meal”. I think that’s plain stupidity. Leave them wondering. Don’t confirm or deny or give any details. But still, if this is news is true allah la y riddo and may he rot in hell.

  • JS Bach

    Also I don’t understand where the “confirmed” part is in this article. Looks like it’s still speculation.

  • JS Bach

    Also I don’t understand where the “confirmed” part is in this article. Looks like it’s still speculation.

  • billnajd

    You live by the SWORD you die by the sword, these guys forgot that they are human being, sorry to say that,,,, they are below bugs….. but bad thing that they did will catch up with them and their families…. they had no mercy, dignity or honor. As mighty as they think they are thay go down like anyone else, but with disgrace…..

  • billnajd

    You live by the SWORD you die by the sword, these guys forgot that they are human being, sorry to say that,,,, they are below bugs….. but bad thing that they did will catch up with them and their families…. they had no mercy, dignity or honor. As mighty as they think they are thay go down like anyone else, but with disgrace…..

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/DJAURNSIAOSC4YMWZJTGWPATNA Anonymous

    I am sure that millions of Syrians all over the world welcome this news. This man was an evil and barbaric man and I hope that his last hours were agonising and full of pain and somehow reminded him of the suffering he inflicted on others. I also hope that Maher is DEAD and that they are all burning in hell with the dirty snake Hafez, the source of all that is cancerous and corrupt in current-Syria.

    This event really, really gives power to the phrase “THE COOK DID IT!”.
    Who needs the Steven Segal or even the Americans or Brits. We have the Free Syrian Army ;)

    • 73Corty77

        And the free Syrian dick heads will soon get what they deserve. How could these animals call them self’s free Syrian army when most of the people they torture and kill are their own country men including children. I suppose you condone these animals blowing themselves up talking innocent civilians with them. And calling it Jihad.   Allah ye oh wek ya Bashar al Assad and the Syrian Army. Give those bastards what they deserve. As for Hafez Al Assad, may god rest his soul. It must burn you all that he was and always will the greatest president the middle east has ever seen.Were else in the middle east do Muslims, christens and Jews live together in harmony. Oh let me guess Saudi Arabia were a woman isn’t allowed to drive car. Now that’s called democracy. Wake up to youself.   In relation to your comment ( Who needs the Steven Segal or even the Americans or Brits. We have the Free Syrian Army). These animals are the Americans and the Brits as well as the French. And with all their might they still cant penetrate the Syrian government.  
       Allah ye oh wek ya Bashar al Assad and the Syrian Army. Give those bastards what they deserve. As for Hafez Al Assad, may god rest his soul. It must burn you all that he was and always will the greatest president the middle east has ever seen.Were else in the middle east do Muslims, christens and Jews live together in harmony. Oh let me guess Saudi Arabia were a woman isn’t allowed to drive car. Now that’s called democracy. Wake up to youself.   In relation to your comment ( Who needs the Steven Segal or even the Americans or Brits. We have the Free Syrian Army). These animals are the Americans and the Brits as well as the French. And with all their might they still cant penetrate the Syrian government.  

      • 5thDrawer

        Got a little repetitive there Corty. And boring.
        Everyone living together under a vile killer-dictator backed by a secret society isn’t harmony. Or freedom.
        Although Assad might have been slightly better than a supreme being, I could admit.

      • Patience2

         Give ‘em time, give ‘em time.  They’ll figure something out!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/DJAURNSIAOSC4YMWZJTGWPATNA Anonymous

    I am sure that millions of Syrians all over the world welcome this news. This man was an evil and barbaric man and I hope that his last hours were agonising and full of pain and somehow reminded him of the suffering he inflicted on others. I also hope that Maher is DEAD and that they are all burning in hell with the dirty snake Hafez, the source of all that is cancerous and corrupt in current-Syria.

    This event really, really gives power to the phrase “THE COOK DID IT!”.
    Who needs the Steven Segal or even the Americans or Brits. We have the Free Syrian Army ;)

    • 73Corty77

        And the free Syrian dick heads will soon get what they deserve. How could these animals call them self’s free Syrian army when most of the people they torture and kill are their own country men including children. I suppose you condone these animals blowing themselves up talking innocent civilians with them. And calling it Jihad.   Allah ye oh wek ya Bashar al Assad and the Syrian Army. Give those bastards what they deserve. As for Hafez Al Assad, may god rest his soul. It must burn you all that he was and always will the greatest president the middle east has ever seen.Were else in the middle east do Muslims, christens and Jews live together in harmony. Oh let me guess Saudi Arabia were a woman isn’t allowed to drive car. Now that’s called democracy. Wake up to youself.   In relation to your comment ( Who needs the Steven Segal or even the Americans or Brits. We have the Free Syrian Army). These animals are the Americans and the Brits as well as the French. And with all their might they still cant penetrate the Syrian government.  
       Allah ye oh wek ya Bashar al Assad and the Syrian Army. Give those bastards what they deserve. As for Hafez Al Assad, may god rest his soul. It must burn you all that he was and always will the greatest president the middle east has ever seen.Were else in the middle east do Muslims, christens and Jews live together in harmony. Oh let me guess Saudi Arabia were a woman isn’t allowed to drive car. Now that’s called democracy. Wake up to youself.   In relation to your comment ( Who needs the Steven Segal or even the Americans or Brits. We have the Free Syrian Army). These animals are the Americans and the Brits as well as the French. And with all their might they still cant penetrate the Syrian government.  

      • 5thDrawer

        Got a little repetitive there Corty. And boring.
        Everyone living together under a vile killer-dictator backed by a secret society isn’t harmony. Or freedom.

      • Patience2

         Give ‘em time, give ‘em time.  They’ll figure something out!

  • antar2011

    i really hope this is true because some pple said he went on national tv the next day to confirm he is alive…so no one really knows.

  • antar2011

    i really hope this is true because some pple said he went on national tv the next day to confirm he is alive…so no one really knows.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_K2TLRZBW3HUVDZCYYDBW4LEF4Y jonas c

    Hoping that this problem will be solved by sheer force, in favour of one side or the other, is the worst indeed. If they had the power to kill him, they’re not ‘victimized civilians’ no longer: they become the executioner, the tormentor. That’s the bad aspect of smuggling weapons into Syria to give power to once before ‘peaceful demonstrators’ …

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_K2TLRZBW3HUVDZCYYDBW4LEF4Y jonas c

    Hoping that this problem will be solved by sheer force, in favour of one side or the other, is the worst indeed. If they had the power to kill him, they’re not ‘victimized civilians’ no longer: they become the executioner, the tormentor. That’s the bad aspect of smuggling weapons into Syria to give power to once before ‘peaceful demonstrators’ …

  • JS Bach

    Allah la y riddak. I just wish they didn’t announce that “a special unit from the Free Syrian Army poisoned the meal”. I think that’s plain stupidity. Leave them wondering. Don’t confirm or deny or give any details. But still, if this news is true allah la y riddo and may he rot in hell.