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Nephew of Lebanon Hezbollah minister killed in Syria: Source

AFP , Thursday 28 Nov 2013
Hassan
Lebanon's agriculture minister Hussein Hajj Hassan (Photo: Ahram)
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A nephew of Lebanon's agriculture minister has been killed along with three other Hezbollah fighters in Syria's Qalamoun region, a source close to the Shiite movement said on Thursday.

"Ali Rida Fuad Hajj Hassan, aged 22, was killed along with three other Hezbollah fighters in Qalamoun" north of Damascus on Wednesday, the source told AFP.

"He was the nephew of Hussein Hajj Hassan," Lebanon's agriculture minister and a leading Hezbollah member, the source added.

Hezbollah is a key backer of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad.

In May, the movement admitted for the first time that it has sent fighters to support Assad's forces in their bid to crush an anti-regime rebellion that erupted in 2011.

According to the source, the bodies of the four men have not been brought back to Lebanon for burial.

Qalamoun is located along the border with Lebanon, and fighting has escalated there in recent weeks as Syria's army and its backers launched a bid to wrest from the rebels areas under opposition control.

Though the country's official policy on the Syrian war is of neutrality, Lebanon is sharply divided along sectarian and political lines, with Hezbollah and its allies backing Assad, and the Sunni-led opposition supporting the revolt.

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