Four Syrians shot dead in Tartous family land dispute
Four members of the same family were brutally murdered in Tartous, western Syria over a family dispute on Friday.
The interior ministry of the Syrian regime said in an announcement via Facebook that a man in the district of Khirbet al-Maaza had shot and killed his brother, his wife and their two sons - while injuring their daughter.
The man allegedly opened fire on the entire family before turning the gun on himself. His attempted suicide was unsuccessful, and he was taken to the nearest hospital in a critical condition, according to the Facebook post.
The attack was reportedly caused by a "family dispute".
The assailant worked as a Baath party security guard in Tartous, and carried out the attack with a Russian rifle he had access to at work according to Syrian daily newspaper al-Watan.
Doctor Iskendar Omar, director of the Basel hospital in Tartous, told al-Watan that "ambulances brought the entire family to our emergency room, but four of them died en route."
"The young girl who was shot in the thigh is still receiving treatment. The shooter, who tried to kill himself, is currently on a ventilator in intensive care," said Omar.
The deadly dispute is linked to an old family feud over land the two brothers inherited from their father, according to local sources.
"Investigations are still ongoing," said the Syrian interior ministry's announcement.
Tartous has been the site of similar family disputes in recent months. In September, a man and his wife were shot dead by their son-in-law over a dispute with their daughter, in the south of Tartous province.
The rise in gun violence is largely due to easy access to arms, increasing drug use and lack of security, according to media activist Abu Yusuf Jablawi, talking to al-Araby al-Jadeed.
"People are being pushed to the extremes by economic hardship, they’re taking up arms over the simplest of disputes," said Jablawi.
The recent spate of violent attacks, previously rare along Syria's coast, is "an indicator that the regime has completely lost control and authority here," said the media activist.