- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Syrian military official and cousin of President Bashar al-Assad was killed on Sunday amid fighting with rebels near the border with Turkey, state news agency SANA reported.

Hilal al-Assad, the head of Syria’s National Defense paramilitary forces in Latakia, was killed in the border town of Kasab, where Syrian troops and rebels have been fighting since Friday, Al Arabiya reported.

Earlier in the day, Turkish armed forces shot down a Syrian fighter jet after it crossed into Turkey’s airspace, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

“A Syrian plane violated our airspace,” he told an election rally in northwest Turkey, Reuters reported. “Our F-16s took off and hit this plane. Why? Because if you violate my airspace, our slap after this will be hard.”