Senior Syrian officer assassinated in Damascus
The official Syrian news agency said Saturday mid-day a army general was shot dead outside his home in Damascus. According to SANA, Brigadier General and doctor Issa al-Khawli was killed "by a terrorist group of three men" outside his home located northwest of the capital. This is the first assassination of a senior Syrian military officer in Damascus since the uprising against the regime of Bashar Assad started about 11 months ago.
This attack comes as the Syrian regime has strengthened security measures in Aleppo, the second largest city which was shaken Friday by a double bombing attack. "In Aleppo, there is a large deployment of security forces following Friday attacks" that killed 28 people and injured 235, said Rami Abdel Rahman, Head of the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights.
Meanwhile, Syrian troops continue their assault on Homs. Four people, including a woman were killed Saturday in the shelling of the neighborhood of Baba Amr.
In the district of Inchaat, inhabited by wealthy families, security forces and soldiers waging a campaign of "widespread looting," said Hadi Abdullah, Commissioner General of the Syrian Revolution. "They come with pick-ups, enter by force into the houses and loot computers, televisions, appliances and even blankets, the only means for people to warm up," he said. Moreover, in the province of Idleb (northwest), 10 soldiers were killed Friday in attacks by a group of deserters.
In this context, Turkey has said it will ask the UN to send humanitarian aid to Syria. Moreover, the crisis threatens to spread into Lebanon. Clashes between the Lebanese pro-and anti-Assad left two dead and several wounded on Saturday in Tripoli, the largest city in the north. The Lebanese army is mobilized to maintain calm.