Raisethefist.com: Rebel bombing kills top Syrian leaders, including Assad's brother-in-law
Rebel bombing kills top Syrian leaders, including Assad's brother-in-law
by anonymous Wed Jul 18 21:41:28 PDT 2012
Syriaís rebels launched a bold attack in Damascus Wednesday, unleashing a bomb during a high-level security meeting that killed three top officials in the regime, including President Bashar Assadís brother-in-law.
State-run TV said the blast came during a Cabinet meeting of senior officials in Damascus, which has seen four straight days of bloodshed.
The killings could signal a change in the civil war, a turning point that has seen the violence escalate and grow more chaotic.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the bombing showed that the bloodshed in Syria was "rapidly spinning out of control," and it was time for the international community to bring "maximum pressure" on Assad to step down and permit a stable transfer of power.
Panettaís remarks came as the Obama administration put financial sanctions on a huge swath of top members in Assad's government, targeting the prime minister and 28 other Cabinet ministers and senior officials.
The U.N. Security Council delayed a vote on a new Syria resolution until Thursday in a last-minute effort to get key Western nations and Russia to reach agreement on measures to end the dramatically escalating violence.
International envoy Kofi Annan urged the deeply divided council to delay Wednesday afternoon's scheduled vote after the bombing.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who was visiting China, also urged the Security Council to "take collective action, with a sense of unity."
State-run TV reporter that the three senior Syrian government officials killed are Gen. Dawoud Rajha, who took over as defense minister last August; Gen. Assef Shawkat, the deputy defense minister and Assadís brother-in-law who was a trusted aide; and Gen. Hassan Turkmani, a former defense minister who was serving as an assistant to the country's vice president.
Meanwhile, Russia, a longtime ally of Syria, is accusing the West of inciting the Syrian opposition following the deadly rebel assault.
In Israel, Defense Minister Ehud Barak summoned his top security and intelligence advisers to discuss the deteriorating security situation in Syria.
Israel has stayed out of the fighting, but is fearful that Syrian weapons could reach anti-Israel militants. On Tuesday, Israel's military intelligence chief said Islamist militants may exploit the power vacuum to attack Israel. Syria and Israel are bitter enemies, but their border has been mostly quiet since 1974.
The Assad family has ruled Syria for four decades, creating an ironclad and impenetrable regime. Wednesday's attack was an unheard-of strike on the inner circle.
Syria's rebel commander, Riad al-Asaad, said his forces carried out the attack.