Defence minister killed Updated
The Syrian Defence Minister, General Dawoud Rajha and the brother-in-law of President Bashar al-Assad, Assef Shawkat, have been killed by a suicide bomber this morning.
The attack took place in the National Security Building in the centre of Damascus, reportedly during a top level security meeting. The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) is saying that the Interior Minister, Mohammad Ibrahim al-Shaar and the top security adviser are injured but are alive although some reports in the media are saying that both have died of their wounds.
The Free Syria Army and an Islamist group, Liwa al-Islam have both claimed responsibility.
The killings are most likely to result in a strong and violent response from the regime.
The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) is reporting that President Bashar al-Assad has already made replacements to the two dead army commanders as follows:
“President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday issued Decree No. 275 for 2012 appointing Gen. Fahd Jassem al-Freij as Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Army and the Armed Forces.
The President also issued Decree No. 275 for 2012 appointing Gen. al-Freij as Minister of Defense.
Gen. al-Freij said in a statement that the General Command of the Army and the Armed Forces announced the martyrdom of Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Army and the Armed Forces, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense Gen. Dawood Rajiha and Deputy Minister of Defense Gen. Asef Shawkat “as a result of a terrorist criminal act that targeted a regular meeting of ministers and authorities leaders in Damascus on July 18th, 2012.”