Syria Defense minister killed as blast hits major security building in Damascus
Syria's Defense Minister Daoud Rajha was killed Wednesday in a suicide bombing which hit the building of National Security in Damascus according to the official Syrian television. The National Security building, an ultra-protected site, is located in the neighborhood of Rawda, in the center of the capital. National Security is headed by General Hisham Ikhtiar. Earlier, sources said the Defense Minister and the Interior Minister were wounded in the blast.
In a related development, fighting between rebels and army continued in the capital whose neighborhoods were shelled by the regime forces regime, according to Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR)
The attack came as fighting rages in the outskirts of the city. "Qaboune is surrounded by tanks, and regime forces are shelling the area from all sides," reported opposition sources. The regime's forces were bombing with helicopters in Qaboune and Barze, where heavy gunfire was heard.
Fighting between the army and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) ran parallel in the neighborhoods of Midane and Kafar Sousse in the south and west of Damascus, said the SOHR, in which more than 60 soldiers have been killed since Monday.
"Between 40 and 50 Syrian soldiers were killed the day before yesterday (Monday) in combat in Damascus and at least 20 died yesterday (Tuesday)," said the director of the SOHR, Rami Abdel Rahman.
Columns of black smoke were visible in several other locations in the capital, where traffic was less dense than usual.
The Battle of Damascus "is nearing completion" and the capital is "the graveyard of the attackers," headlined the al-Watan daily, which is close to the regime.
In Jdaidet Artouz, a town in the province of Damascus countryside, where electricity was cut off, explosions were heard, accompanied by gunfire. Zabadani town was also shelled, opposition sources conveyed.