Naharnet

DNA Samples Taken from Asir and Shaker Relatives to Identify Charred Bodies

State Commissioner to the Military Court Judge Saqr Saqr has asked for the DNA samples of Sheikh Ahmed al-Asir's mother and the brother of singer-turned Salafist Fadel Shaker, the state-run National News Agency reported on Monday.

NNA said the results of the tests will be compared with the DNAs of two burned bodies found by the army after taking control of the complex of al-Asir near the southern city of Sidon following two days of heavy gunbattles last week.

Saqr, who is overseeing the initial investigation carried out by the military intelligence into the fighting in Abra, released nine people who had been arrested at the end of the battles.

Thirty suspects remain in custody, the agency added.

The fighting, which was sparked last Sunday when Asir's supporters opened fire on an army checkpoint, left around 18 soldiers and more than 20 gunmen dead.

The gunbattles concentrated in the area of Bilal Bin Rabah Mosque and nearby buildings.

Al-Asir, a 45-year-old cleric who supports the overwhelmingly Sunni rebels fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad, is no where to be found along with Shaker, a onetime prominent singer-turned Salafist.

Asir teamed up with him when around two years ago he began agitating for Hizbullah to disarm.


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