Syrian rebel forces have disrupted an attempt by relatives of President Bashar al-Assad to leave the country late on Sunday, Egypt’s Al-Masry-Al-Youm newspaper said.
A field commander of the Free Syrian Army told the paper on the condition of anonymity that “a convoy of government cars tried to enter Damascus international airport, but SFA squads have disrupted the attempt.”
The source said when rebel forces exchanged gunfire with presidential security forces, who accompanied the convoy, a helicopter appeared to provide air support. The convoy changed its direction and headed towards al-Assad’s residence in Damascus.
The field commander said the convoy presumably carried al-Assad’s wife and children, his mother Anisa Makhlouf and nephew, tycoon Rami Makhlouf and his children.
The Syrian authorities have refused to officially comment on the incident.
The Free Syrian Army is made up mainly of deserters from Syria’s armed forces. Earlier on Sunday, its members fought with the government troops on the outskirts of Damascus, including the capital’s international airport.
The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Sunday’s fighting killed 66 people, including 26 civilians.
The Syrian army conducted an offensive on the outskirts Damascus on Sunday night and regained control over the territory previously held by rebel forces, Al Arabiya said on Monday, citing Free Syrian Army activists.