Syrian President Assad’s brother-in-law among those killed in Damascus bombing
The brother-in-law of Syrian president Bashar al Assad and his defence minister are among several senior officials killed in a Damascus bomb attack.
Sky News confirms that Assef Shawkat and defence chief Daoud Rajha were killed in an explosion at a meeting of senior security and government figures in the capital. General Hassan Turkmani, a former Syrian Defense Minister and senior military official, also died in the blast.
Syrian state-run TV said the blast came during a meeting of Cabinet ministers and senior security officials in Damascus, which has seen four straight days of clashes between rebels and government troops.
The high-level assassinations could signal a turning point in Syria’s civil war as the violence becomes increasingly chaotic.
Syria’s rebel commander, Riad al-Asaad, said his forces carried out the attack.
Although state-run TV said it was a suicide blast, al-Asaad said his rebel forces planted a bomb in the room and detonated it. All those involved in carrying out the attack are safe, he said.
“God willing, this is the beginning of the end of the regime,” al-Asaad told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from his base in neighboring Turkey.
“Hopefully Bashar will be next,” he added.