Syrian security forces attempted to smuggle Syrian President Bashar Assad's family out of the country, sources from the Syrian opposition told Al-Masry-Al-Youm Sunday evening, according to a report published by the Egyptian daily.

According to the report, security forces tried to aid the president's wife Asma Assad, to escape via Damascus, along with his children, mother and cousin.

The sources told Al-Masry-Al-Youm that "a convoy of official vehicles was seen heading to the airport in Damascus," before they were intercepted by brigades of army defectors.

According to the source, there was a heavy exchange of fire between the security forces and the Free Syrian Army forces; the family were prevented from escaping and returned to the presidential palace.

The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported a total of 41 civilian deaths across Syria on Sunday, including 14 in Homs province and 12 in the city of Hama. Thirty-one soldiers and members of the security forces were also killed, most of them in two attacks by army deserters in the northern province of Idlib, it said.

Activists said that Syrian soldiers killed 19 people in fighting to retake Damascus suburbs from rebels on Sunday. A day earlier, the Arab League suspended its monitoring mission because of mounting violence.

Click for full JPost coverage

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger