Assad’s brother-in-law and Syrian defense minister killed in suicide attack

Syrian state TV reports Security Chief Assif Shawqat, the president’s brother-in-law and Syrian defense minister, Gen. Dawoud Rajiha, were killed Wednesday by a suicide bomber who struck the National Security building Wednesday during a meeting of cabinet ministers and senior security officials. The Interior Minister Interior Minister Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ibrahim Shaar is in critical condition. A security source says the bomber was the defense minister's bodyguard.

The attack came on the fourth day of fierce fighting between rebels holding parts of the capital and government forces backed by helicopters, tanks and APCs shooting heavy machineguns. Residents in those areas are fleeing their homes. According to another report, a barracks overlooking the presidential palace is on fire. The rebels are calling their final battle for the capital Operation Damascus Volcano.
The Syrian opposition reports that two defecting generals were among the 600 Syrian refugees who fled to Turkey in the last 24 hours.

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