Defense minister and relative of Syrian president killed in suicide blast as fighting intensifies around Damascus

Wednesday, July 18, 2012
By Paul Martin
July 18, 2012

SYRIA – President Bashar al-Assad’s brother-in-law Asef Shawkat and the country’s defense minister were killed in a massive bombing in central Damascus on Wednesday, Syrian state media said. State television said Mr. Shawkat and Defense Minister Maj. Gen. Dawood Rajha, who is a Christian, were killed in an attack against the so-called national security building in the capital’s Rawda Square, while they and other senior security and defense leaders were meeting inside. Mr. Shawkat is deputy defense minister and one of the most powerful figures in Mr. Assad’s security apparatus. It added that there were other serious injuries among those who were at the meeting, but didn’t give further details. The killings come as rebel forces have moved reinforcements into the Syrian capital, battling with government forces and bringing the fighting closer to Mr. Assad’s seat of power. – WSJ

Leave a Reply