Hitto is a member of Syria's Kurdish ethnic minority, though he is not considered a representative of the community, which has not joined the coalition.
He is married to a teacher and has four children.
In a speech to a rally in Fort Worth, Texas, in 2012, he spoke of his son, Obaida, who was applying to law school when "he made up his mind ... to help the people of Syria." His son has since been in the embattled city of Deir al-Zour, shooting videos to post online.
The elder Hitto left Texas late last year to move to Turkey, where he helped run the coalition's aid program to Syria.
In the video of the Fort Worth rally, posted online in September, Hitto criticized Assad's regime for deploying its army to suppress political protests while not sending it to take back the Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria in 1967 and later annexed.
"They were faced with live bullets, with tanks, with soldiers, an army that did not bother to fire a single bullet to claim or to attempt to reclaim its own occupied land for 42 years," he said.
Associated Press writer Bradley Klapper contributed reporting from Washington.
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