LATAKIA: Sulaymaan Hilaal Al-Assad was taken into custody at about 9:00 p.m. Sunday night after eluding elements of the General Security Directorate, Military Police and the enraged citizens of Latakia. Sulaymaan Al-Assad is the second cousin of the president and the son of a war hero, Maj. Gen. Hilaal Al-Assad who gave his life defending Syria in the northwest corner of the coastal province while leading units of the Popular Defense Forces. What a disgrace to his great name that this thug would be now charged with the murder of one of Syria’s best officers in the Air Defense Corps.
He killed Colonel Hassan Al-Shaykh as he was returning from his air defense base while on leave to see his family. The colonel was seated with his brother inside his car. The incident which gave rise to this tragedy occurred after the colonel’s brother beeped his horn and sped around Sulaymaan’s car which the latter apparently viewed as an insulting maneuver given the military license plate he was sporting. Sulaymaan, reportedly sped up, and forced the colonel’s car to stop. When the colonel’s brother stopped out of his vehicle, Sulaymaan was seen reaching for an AK-47 assault rifle which he was licensed to carry. The colonel, who was in full dress uniform and could not be mistook for anything but a full-bird colonel, excoriated Sulaymaan for his egregious behavior. One thing led to another, and Sulaymaan aimed his rifle, and the colonel, who evidently did not believe the idiot would fire, took a shot straight to the heart.
This incident took place on an intersection close to where the colonel was stationed. Sulaymaan Al-Assad was found by the military police hiding in a shed close to the Qardaaha Dam area. He was spotted by local residents. His intentions were to escape to Tripoli, Lebanon; to Jabal Muhsin, from where he, then, planned to leave the Near East. (We think, probably to Marbella, Spain where he would seek the help of the notorious paternal uncle of the president, Rif’aat Al-Assad.)
President Assad has promised full prosecution for this heinous crime. He has spoken to the colonel’s wife to give her confidence in the criminal justice system which will treat this relative of the Assad family like any other citizen. It is said the president is furious over the loss of Colonel Al-Shaykh.
Sulaymaan has been interrogated by Military Police in the presence of a military prosecutor. He will be referred shortly to the Military Prosecutor’s Office where he will be formally charged with murder. Then, he will be delivered to the Investigating Judge and to the Criminal Court where the verdict and sentence will be handed down. Wael, my source in Latakia, says Sulaymaan was a thug who used narcotics. In Syria, that’s not a defense.