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Brother of Syrian Parliament Speaker Murdered

  • VOA News

Syria's state-run news agency said gunmen have shot and killed the brother of the country's parliament speaker.

Mohammed Osama Laham, brother to parliament speaker Jihad Laham, was shot dead early Tuesday as he drove to work in the capital, Damascus.

It was the latest in a wave of assassinations targeting Syrian officials, army officers and other prominent supporters of President Bashar al-Assad. Four of the president's top security aides were killed in a rebel bombing of state security headquarters in Damascus in July, including the defense minister and Mr. Assad's brother-in-law.

Also Tuesday, British Prime Minister David Cameron suggested that Mr. Assad could be allowed safe passage out of the country if that option would guarantee an end to the nation's civil war.

In an interview with Al Arabiya television, Mr. Cameron said the international community should consider anything "to get that man out of the country and to have a safe transition in Syria."

Fresh bombings and air strikes shook Syria again Tuesday, a day after nearly 250 people died in the country's worst violence in weeks and rebels launched one of their deadliest attacks yet.

As the opposition continued to meet in Qatar under pressure to form a truly representative government-in-exile, the Syrian government was reeling from a wave of car bombs and attacks that were reported to have killed nearly 100 soldiers and pro-government fighters on Monday.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a suicide attack in Hama province killed 50 troops and was carried out by the al-Nusra Front, an al-Qaida-inspired Islamist militant group. The death toll cannot be independently verified.

The Syrian conflict is entering its 20th month and has caused the deaths of an estimated 36,000 people.

Israel's U.N. ambassador, Ron Prosor, sent a letter Tuesday to the U.N. Security Council protesting what Israel said is the crossing of Syrian tanks into the area of separation between the two countries' forces in the Golan Heights.

Separately, the Palestinian militant group Hamas said the Syrian government sealed its former offices in Damascus, finalizing the break from its former patron.

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