Syrian State Media: Defense Minister Killed In Bombing In Damascus
Syrian state television said Wednesday that a bombing in Damascus killed Defense Minister Daoud Rajha, the latest and most dramatic sign of upheaval in more than 16 months of civil revolt.
Al Manar — the news channel for the Shiite militia Hezbollah , which has close ties with the Syrian government — said deputy defense minister Asef Shawkat, brother-in-law and close confidante to the Syrian president, also was killed. Interior Minister Mohammad Shaar was seriously injured, al Manar said.
The reported casualties, and details of the explosion at the National Security building during a meeting of cabinet ministers, could not be independently confirmed. They came amid growing questions about the government’s ability to keep control of the capital, where fierce clashes between security forces and rebels have raged since Sunday.
On Tuesday, Syrian opposition groups said their fighters were converging on Damascus. Despite the overwhelming firepower of government troops, rebel forces appeared to hold their ground in several neighborhoods where the fighting was heaviest, according to members of the opposition.