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  1. #1
    lom
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    Bomb kills Syrian defense minister as Damascus battle rages

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/...8610SH20120718

    Reuters) - Syria's defense minister was killed in a bomb attack on a high level security meeting in Damascus on Wednesday, state television said, as the revolt against Bashar al-Assad struck at the heart of the president's inner circle.
    State television said Defense Minister Daoud Rajha was killed in a "terrorist bombing".
    Lebanon-based news channel al-Maydeen said several senior security officials had been killed in the attack while battles raged within sight of Assad's presidential palace.
    Republican Guard troops sealed off the Shami hospital near the sign of the explosion in northern Damascus, indicating senior officials were among the wounded, activists contacted by telephone had said.
    "The terrorist explosion which targeted the national security building in Damascus occurred during a meeting of ministers and a number of heads of (security) agencies," the television said.
    The start of a fourth day of fighting in the capital early on Wednesday had already brought the 16-month-old revolt close to the center of power.
    An army barracks near the "palace of the people", a huge Soviet-tile complex overlooking the sprawling capital from the western district of Dummar, came under rebel fire around 7.30 a.m. (0030 EDT), activists and a resident said.
    "I could hear the sound of small arms fire and explosions are getting louder and louder from the direction of the barracks," Yasmine, who works as an architect, said by telephone from Dummar.
    FIRE IN THE BARRACKS
    Video footage broadcast by activists appeared to show fire in the barracks overnight as a result of an attack by mortar rounds, but residents who saw the fire said they had not heard explosions to indicate it was a result of an attack.
    Dummar is a secure area containing many auxiliary installations for the presidential palace and the barracks is just hundreds of meters from the palace itself.
    Fighting also erupted overnight in the southern neighborhoods of Asali and Qadam, and Hajar al-Aswad and Tadamun - mainly Sunni Muslim districts housing Damascenes and Palestinian refugees.
    Assad and the ruling elite belong to the minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam that has dominated power in Syria since a 1963 coup.
    It has endured more than a year of rebellion but recent high level defections signaled support beginning to fall away.
    Two Syrian brigadier-generals were among some 600 Syrians who fled from Syria to Turkey overnight, a Turkish official said on Wednesday, bringing the number of Syrian generals sheltering in Turkey to 20, including a retired general.
    The official could not immediately confirm if other defected officers had also arrived in Turkey in the last 24 hours but said a number of lower-ranking soldiers usually accompanied defecting generals.
    OPPOSITION CAUTIOUS
    In Damascus, government troops used heavy machineguns and anti-aircraft guns against rebels moving deep in residential neighborhoods, armed mostly with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades.
    Rebels directed their fire overnight at a large state facility turned headquarters for pro-Assad militia, known as shabbiha, drawn mainly from Alawite enclaves in nearby hills.
    Army tanks and anti-aircraft guns, used as an infantry weapon, took positions in the northern neighborhood of Barzeh, where hundreds of families from the neighboring district of Qaboun are seeking shelter.
    "Anti-aircraft guns are firing at Qaboun from Barzeh. There are lots of families in the streets with no place to stay. They came from Qaboun and from the outskirts of Barzeh," said Bassem, one of the activists, speaking by telephone from Barzeh.
    In the central neighborhood of Midan tanks and infantry fighting vehicles known as BDMs took positions in main thoroughfares and sporadic fighting was reported.
    "Armor have not been able to enter the alleyways and old streets of Midan. The neighborhoods of old Zahra and the old area near Majed mosque are in the hands of the rebels," said Abu Mazen, an activist in the district.
    Rebel fighters have called the intensified guerrilla attacks in recent days, which have targeted shabbiha buses, unmarked intelligence patrols and armored vehicles in the capital, the battle "for the liberation of Damascus" after 16 months of revolt.
    But senior opposition figures took a more nuanced view.
    "It is going to be difficult to sustain supply lines and the rebels may have to make a tactical withdrawal at one point, like they did in other cities," veteran opposition activist Fawaz Tello said from Istanbul.
    "But what is clear is that Damascus has joined the revolt," Tello, a Damascene, told Reuters. "By hitting well known Sunni districts of the city, such as Midan, the regime is exposing the sectarian nature of the crackdown."
    Information Minister Omran Zoabi said on Tuesday security forces were fighting armed infiltrators in Damascus. He said many had surrendered while others "escaped on foot and by car and are firing randomly in the air to frighten people".
    The United Nations Security Council was scheduled to vote later on Wednesday in New York on a Western-backed resolution that threatens Assad's government with sanctions unless he stops using heavy weapons in towns and cities. Russia has declared it will block the move.
    May the bridges I burn light my way

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat superman's Avatar
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    Some guy on yahoo was just spouting off that this uprising is being instigated by Israel in a build up to the expected attack on Iran. Is it ?

  3. #3
    Thailand Expat Jesus Jones's Avatar
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    ^That's what i've read. I predicted Oct-Nov i think for the attack.

  4. #4
    Thailand Expat superman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jesus Jones View Post
    ^That's what i've read. I predicted Oct-Nov i think for the attack.
    I hope the Iranians ain't reading this thread.

  5. #5
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    No chance. And this article doesn't mention that Bashar Al Assad's brother in law copped it in the attack as well.

    Syria falls, Hezbollah weakens, there's a buffer between the mad Shi'a and the rest of the Gulf and some sense of actual normality should return.

    Then everyone can concentrate on putting the squeeze on Iran before they get the nuke.

    The fall of Assad can't be far off, the question is will he fuck off to a nice Iranian suburb with the family or try and go out in a blaze of glory?
    Last edited by harrybarracuda; 18-07-2012 at 07:52 PM.

  6. #6
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    ^Coming live to a theatre near you...Amazing, innit?...

  7. #7
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    Well you only have to remember what Saddam did when he realised he was losing the war in '91 - started launching scuds at Israel.

    I'm guessing they will be on high alert in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

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