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Syrian president’s younger brother dies

The younger brother of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has passed away at the age of 43 as a result of an ‘incurable disease’ he had been fighting for a long time.

In a brief statement, the Syrian news agency SANA announced that Majd Hafez al-Assad died on Saturday morning in Damascus after suffering a serious illness.

The youngest of former Syrian president Hafez al-Assad’s children was born in 1966 in the northwestern province of Latakia. Majd had graduated from the Faculty of Economics, at Damascus University in 1989. He had never displayed any political ambition. He was married for 15 years but had no children.

President Bashar al-Assad issued an official announcement on Saturday, saying Majd’s funeral will be held on Sunday afternoon in his hometown of Qardaha on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

The late Hafez al-Assad and his wife had five children, including four sons. His eldest, Basel, was designated as his father’s successor and moved up the ranks of the Syrian army. However, the charismatic Basel was killed in a car accident in January 1994 not far from Damascus International Airport.

Following this accident, Bashar al-Assad was urgently called back to Syria, where he was groomed to replace his father. He took the post of Syrian president in 2000 after his father’s death.

Majd’s death leaves the Syrian president with just one brother and a sister. Bashar al-Assad’s remaining brother, Maher, is a colonel in the presidential guard. His sister Bushra is married to General Assef Shawkat — a former head of military intelligence who was appointed deputy chief of staff of the Syrian army in July.

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