Jamil Assad, 71; Uncle of Syrian President Bashar Assad Was in Parliament

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Jamil Assad, 71, the youngest brother of the late Syrian President Hafez Assad, has died.

There was no official announcement in Syria, but sources in Damascus said Assad died Wednesday at a French hospital where he had been treated for about a month.

Assad, the uncle of current President Bashar Assad, had not played a significant political role in recent years despite having been a member of Syria's Parliament since 1971.

During the early 1980s, he headed an Alawite religious organization called Al-Murtada that sought to convert Syrians to the Alawite religion, angering the secular ruling Baath Party in Syria. The organization was banned by Hafez Assad in 1983. In recent years, Assad had headed the national security committee in Parliament.

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