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Blast Kills Assad’s Brother-in-Law, Defense Minister

Blast Kills Assad’s Brother-in-Law, Defense Minister

Syria’s defense minister, Daoud Rajha, and his deputy, Asef Shawkat — who is the brother-in-law of President Bashar al-Assad — were killed on Wednesday when a suicide bomber attacked security headquarters in Damascus. Syria’s national security chief Hisham Bekhtyar and interior minister Mohammad Ibrahim al-Shaar were also reported to be injured.

Top security ministers and security chiefs had been meeting to discuss the 17-month uprising. The attack occurred after reports of the first major rebel offensive in Damascus over the weekend; heavy shelling and regime forces firing on buildings and residents has been reported in the al-Qaboun district. Rebel spokeswoman Susan Ahmad told the BBC that entrances to Damascus had been closed.

he assassinations could prove to be an “important symbolic turning point” in the uprising to overthrow Assad. Says the BBC‘s Jim Marcus:

The fact that a bomber was able to carry out such an attack against a high security target speaks volumes about the government’s ability to protect its own members and raises questions about the broader capacities of Syria’s “security state.”

As the level of senior defections from the Syrian military continues many analysts believe that it is not now a question of “if” the Syrian regime collapses from within, but “when.”

According to Al Jazeera, both the Free Syrian Army and a group called the Islamic Brigade have claimed responsibility for the attack.

The attacks occurred at the same time as diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict have come to a standstill. A team of some 300 United Nations observers have been basically confined to their hotel rooms while the UN Security Council considers extending their mandate. Western powers have insisted that this can only occur along with the imposition of harsher sanctions on the Assad regime; Russia and China have refused to agree to such and Russia has submitted its own draft resolution.

Witnesses in Damascus reported that a huge security presence has been deployed in the city. But one rebel spokesman told the New York Times that fighting in the capital has mostly been skirmishes between regime forces and the FSA. “The battle for Damascus has not started,” he said.

Previous Care2 Coverage

Red Cross Finally Admits Syria is in Civil War

Bloodiest Massacre Yet in Syria, Say Opposition Activists

Another Syrian Official Flees The Country

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31 comments

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1:44PM PDT on Jul 20, 2012

"Until you've actually lived under such a regime and witnessed the suffering of, and lack of opportunity for, the people, while the golden circle of the family mafia/regime enrich themselves beyond measure, you're in no position to criticize their struggle for freedom."

Why is it then, sheila H, that in spite of being in exactly that position, I am totally opposed to the so-called 'rebels' in Syria?
Assad is a good man - or has been until recent events forced his hand. The vast majority of Syrians were behind him and supported his reforms, which were even-handed and geared towards an informed Syrian democracy.
Unfortunately, when one begins to introduce reforms this proves too fast for some, too slow for others. Some people start to believe violence is the answer.
And now the ordinary people are fed up with the suffering that has resulted, which has affected everyone. They want an end to it.
So there will be one. Assad will go - to the detriment of Syria and Syrian democracy. The country will be put back years. It's all very, very sad.

7:18PM PDT on Jul 19, 2012

What you sow you will reap. Bashar al-Assad has used violence on his people and his people have struck back. Karma can be a bitch.

12:28PM PDT on Jul 19, 2012

Is our country so far for Syria ?
We have drones and no privacy. The bill of rights the Preamble and our Constitution are no more.
Corporations are people and it is ok to buy our government.

12:28PM PDT on Jul 19, 2012

Is our country so far for Syria ?
We have drones and no privacy. The bill of rights the Preamble and our Constitution are no more.
Corporations are people and it is ok to buy our government.

12:28PM PDT on Jul 19, 2012

Is our country so far for Syria ?
We have drones and no privacy. The bill of rights the Preamble and our Constitution are no more.
Corporations are people and it is ok to buy our government.

12:28PM PDT on Jul 19, 2012

Is our country so far for Syria ?
We have drones and no privacy. The bill of rights the Preamble and our Constitution are no more.
Corporations are people and it is ok to buy our government.

12:28PM PDT on Jul 19, 2012

Is our country so far for Syria ?
We have drones and no privacy. The bill of rights the Preamble and our Constitution are no more.
Corporations are people and it is ok to buy our government.

12:28PM PDT on Jul 19, 2012

Is our country so far for Syria ?
We have drones and no privacy. The bill of rights the Preamble and our Constitution are no more.
Corporations are people and it is ok to buy our government.

12:28PM PDT on Jul 19, 2012

Is our country so far for Syria ?
We have drones and no privacy. The bill of rights the Preamble and our Constitution are no more.
Corporations are people and it is ok to buy our government.

12:28PM PDT on Jul 19, 2012

Is our country so far for Syria ?
We have drones and no privacy. The bill of rights the Preamble and our Constitution are no more.
Corporations are people and it is ok to buy our government.

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