Damascus Suicide Bomb Kills Senior Syria Officials
The Free Syrian Army and militant group Liwa al-Islam have both claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in Damascus that has killed several Syrian government officials. The suicide attack, carried out by a bodyguard for President Bashar al-Assad's inner circle, was timed to hit a meeting between government and security officials at the National Security Building.
Among those killed in the Damascus suicide attack:
- General Daoud Rahja, Syrian defense minister
- Assef Shawkat, deputy security minister and Assad's brother-in-law
In their claim of responsibility, Liwa al-Islam's Facebook message said that the attack "targeted the cell called the crisis control room in the capital of Damascus."
In the Free Syrian Army's claim, a representative said, "This is the volcano we talked about, we have just started."
Damascus has seen heavy fighting for four days, and at least 60 government troops have been killed since Monday. At least 48 civilians were killed on Tuesday alone.
Meanwhile, two more Syrian generals have defected to Turkey overnight, bringing the total to 20, along with over 43,000 Syrian civilian refugees.
Only days ago did the Red Cross formally designate the situation in Syria as a civil war, though that was obvious to the rest of the world for a long time. Syrians have been actively trying to oust Bashar al-Assad for 17 months.
In theory, this means that both Assad and his opponents are subject to international humanitarian law, in which Assad has clearly shown no interest.