Syria: Defense Minister, Assad’s Brother-In-Law Killed in Suicide Bombing
A surprising turn of events in Syria as one of Bashar Assad’s bodyguards killed himself with a suicide charge, killing and injuring several senior officials as the fight in Damascus moves into its fourth day:
Is the battle in Damascus reaching a tipping-point? Syria’s national television network is reporting that the Syrian Minister of Defense,Dawoud Rajiha, and Assef Shawkat, brother of Asma Assad, President Bashar al-Assad’s wife, were killed in a suicide bombing that took place in the center of Damascus. According to reports, a suicide bomber detonated himself at a defense facility in the Syrian capitol during a meeting of senior officials in Syria’s defense establishment. Israel is maintaining a state of alertness in light of the recent events in Syria.
According to reports coming in from Damascus, several other senior officers were hurt in the attack, which took place against the backdrop of intense combat taking place between rebel forces and Syrian military forces on the streets of Damascus for the past four days. Arab media are reporting that the suicide bomber was one of President Assad’s personal bodyguards. According to other reports, Hisham Bakhtiar, head of Syria’s National Security Bureau, was killed as well.
..Yesterday, the head of the IDF’s Directorate of Military Intelligence, Major General Aviv Kochavi, referred to the events in the Syrian arena in a defense review held before the Israeli Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. Kochavi assessed that “Assad will not survive the uprising, even if it takes a while.” He added that 13,000 soldiers and officers defected from the Syrian Army, and that 60-70 senior officers were killed by the opposition. The assessment of the IDF Directorate of Military Intelligence also discusses attacks by the opposition on the regime’s strategic facilities, including government structures, police and military forces and political persons.