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Photo: AFP
Mohammad Darrar Jamo, slain pro-Assad pundit
Photo: AFP

Outspoken Assad supporter assassinated in Lebanon

Pro-Assad pundit gunned down outside Lebanese home. Witnesses say man, Mohammad Darrar Jamo, came home at 2 am, shot 20 times by three gunmen who were waiting for him. Daughter suffers breakdown

A Syrian official was assassinated by armed men at his home in southern Lebanon early Wednesday, his wife and witnesses said, in the first such killing on Lebanese soil.

 

The victim was Mohammad Darrar Jamo, a pro-regime Syrian political commentator who often appeared on Lebanese television to defend Syria's President Bashar Assad.

 

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Jamo had lived in Lebanon for 25 years and headed the political and international relations division of the International Organization for Arab Immigrants.

 

Jamo shot at least 20 times (Photo: EPA) (Photo: EPA)
Jamo shot at least 20 times (Photo: EPA)

 

Witnesses said the 44-year-old official was shot as he arrived at his home in Sarafand, southern Lebanon, at around 2:15 am. His wife Siham Younis told reporters that Jamo had parked his car in front of the house and started to carry bags of shopping inside.

 

"Moments later I heard rapid-fire gunshots," she said. "I went into the room and I saw him lying on the ground, covered in blood."

 

She said his "friends in the (ruling) Baath party in Syria had warned him (on Tuesday) by phone that he needed to be careful".

 

His daughter Fatima, 17, was taken to hospital after suffering a nervous breakdown.

 

Mohammed, a relative of Jamo, told AFP he saw a car pull up in front of Jamo's house. Three gunmen then entered the building and before neighbors could do anything, the sound of heavy gunfire erupted.

 

A Lebanese security official said Jamo was shot "with 20 bullets in different parts of his body.” Jamo's funeral will be held in Damascus, a security source said.

 

Body of slain pro-Assad pundit (Photo: AFP) (Photo: AFP)
Body of slain pro-Assad pundit (Photo: AFP)

 

Lebanon's state news agency published a photo Wednesday of a shirtless Jamo lying on a blue sheet soaked with blood, his chest riddled with bullet wounds. Bullet holes were clearly visible in the walls inside the house.

  

Syrian state news agency SANA also reported the killing, and said Jamo was shot dead "by terrorists" in front of his house in Sarafand in southern Lebanon.

 

Syria's information ministry meanwhile denounced the "heinous crime", and said it was committed by "barbarians.”

 

Shabih

Jamo, a 44-year-old journalist and political commentator, was one of Assad's and Hezbollah's most vociferous defenders. In frequent appearances on television talk shows, he would staunchly support the Syrian regime's strong-armed response to the uprising and in at least one case shouted down opposition figures, calling them "traitors."

 

His hard-line stance earned him enemies among Syria's opposition, and some in the anti-Assad camp referred to Jamo as "shabih," a term used for pro-government gunmen who have been blamed for some of the worst mass killings of the civil war.

 

Hezbollah condemned the attack, saying it showed the "bankruptcy" of Sunni extremist groups fighting in Syria. In a statement, it said that the crime should serve as an "alarm bell" for Lebanese authorities "to find the most appropriate way to confront these terrorist groups before it is too late."

 

Assassinations of politicians, army officers and journalists who support Assad's regime are not uncommon in Syria, but the killing of a well-known Syrian in Lebanon is rare.

 

On Tuesday, a roadside bomb struck a Hezbollah convoy near the Syrian border, wounding two, and last week a car bombing in south Beirut wounded 53 people in the heart of the militant group's bastion of support. Rockets have recently hit the Hezbollah stronghold south of the Lebanese capital.

 

The attacks come as no surprise. Although there have been no credible responsibility claims, Syria-based extremist Sunni groups have interpreted Hezbollah's moves in Syria as a declaration of war against their sect and have threatened to retaliate inside Hezbollah-controlled areas in Lebanon.

 

AP contributed to this report

  

 

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פרסום ראשון: 07.17.13, 21:36
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