Deadly explosion kills top Syrian officials

Updated: 2012-07-18 18:46


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*International mediator Kofi Annan condemned the bloodshed in Syria on Wednesday and said it underscored the urgent need for decisive action by world powers to stem the violence and pave the way for political transition.

*President Barack Obama spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday about the crisis in Syria, the White House confirmed. The White House said on Wednesday that the "window is closing" to find a peaceful solution to the violence in Syria and added it did not know the whereabouts of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after a deadly blast killed three of his top military officials.

*UN Security Council decided to postpone its vote on a draft resolution concerning Syria to Thursday morning, Colombian permanent representative to the UN Nestor Osorio said here Wednesday, whose country holds rotating presidency of the Council for July.

*The foreign policy chief of the European Union (EU) Catherine Ashton on Wednesday condemned the suicide bomb attack in Damascus which killed three senior officials.

*Syrian Assistant Vice-President, General Hassan Turkmani, died Wednesday afternoon of wounds he sustained in the deadly blast that tore through the national security building in the capital Damascus earlier in the day, the state TV reported.

*US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Wednesday the situation in Syria appeared to be "spinning out of control" as he and his British counterpart warned that the Syrian regime would be held responsible for securing its chemical weapons.

*Syrian Ministry of Defense pledged to eradicate the armed groups and their hideouts, adding that the killings of Defense Minister Dawood Rajha and his deputy Assef Shawkat will only strengthen the forces' resolve to eliminate the terrorists in the country.

*Russia has accused the West of inciting the Syrian opposition after a suicide bomber killed the defense minister and President Bashar Assad's brother-in-law.


Earlier story:

DAMASCUS - Two top Syrian officials were killed and others injured when an explosion ripped through the national intelligence headquarters in the capital Damascus on Wednesday morning, dealing a strong blow to the Syrian leadership, which pledged tough response to the attack.

Deadly explosion kills top Syrian officials

Syrian Defence Minister Daoud Rajha attends a dinner in honour of army officers in Damascus on the anniversary of the 65th Army Foundation in this August 1, 2010 file photo. [Photo / Agencies]

Syrian Defense Minister Dawood Rajha, and his Deputy, Assef Shawkat were killed in the bombing, whose circumstances remain murky, as the state-TV said it was a suicide bombing while the broad-based opposition said the blast was controlled remotely. Shawkat is also the president's brother in law.

The two defense officials along with the Interior Minister Mohammad al-Shaar and many others of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's inner circle were holding a meeting in the blasted building. Al-Shaar was injured and later declared stable and survived his wounds.

Still, no further details were provided about the other figures who were present at the meeting.

Right after the blast, security and army forces beefed up presence and fanned out around the area, ringing it with big busses.

The blast is considered as a tough blow to the Assad administration, which has managed to hold together during the 16- months bloody unrest.

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