SARAFAND, Lebanon (AFP) – A Syrian official was assassinated by armed men at his home in south Lebanon early Wednesday, his wife and witnesses said, in the first such killing on Lebanese soil.
The victim was Mohammad Darrar Jamo, a pro-regime Syrian political commentator who often appeared on Lebanese television to defend Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.
Jamo had lived in Lebanon for 25 years and headed the political and international relations division of the International Organization for Arab Immigrants.
Witnesses said the 44-year-old official was shot as he arrived at his home in Sarafand, southern Lebanon, at around 2:15 am.
His wife Siham Younis told reporters that Jamo had parked his car in front of the house and started to carry bags of shopping inside.
“Moments later I heard rapid-fire gunshots”, she said. “I went into the room and I saw him lying on the ground, covered in blood.”
She said his “friends in the (ruling) Baath party in Syria had warned him (on Tuesday) by phone that he needed to be careful”.
His daughter Fatima, 17, was taken to hospital after suffering a nervous breakdown.
Mohammed, a relative of Jamo, told AFP he saw a car pull up in front of Jamo’s house. Three gunmen then entered the building and before neighbors could do anything, the sound of heavy gunfire erupted.
A Lebanese security official said Jamo was shot “with 20 bullets in different parts of his body”.
Portraits of Lebanese and Syrian officials, including Assad, hung in Jamo’s living room.
Jamo’s funeral will be held in Damascus, a security source said.
Syrian state news agency SANA also reported the killing, and said Jamo was shot dead “by terrorists” in front of his house in Sarafand in south Lebanon.
Syria’s information ministry meanwhile denounced the “heinous crime”, and said it was committed by “barbarians”.
The 28-month-old Syrian conflict has spilled over into Lebanon, which lived through three decades of domination by Damascus.
Lebanon is deeply divided between opponents and supporters of Assad, a rift that has intensified since the open intervention by Lebanon’s powerful Shiite militant group Hezbollah on the side of the regime.
Photo Credit: AFP