DAMASCUS - Syrian state television says a suicide bomber has struck the National Security building in Damascus, killing the country’s defense minister Daoud Rajha and seriously wounding several other officials.
Reports say the deputy defense minister, Assef Shawkat, was also killed. Shawkat was brother-in-law to President Bashar al-Assad.
Wednesday’s attack took place during a meeting of top government officials.
The attack Wednesday comes amid days of clashes between rebels and government troops in the capital.
It has been the heaviest period of fighting in the city since the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad began 16 months ago.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council is expected to vote Wednesday on a resolution that would extend the U.N. observer mission in Syria.
The mission’s mandate expires Friday, and the Council has been divided over whether a new resolution should include a threat of sanctions against President Bashar al-Assad’s government.
Britain, France, Germany and the United States are pushing for a 45-day renewal of the U.N. observer mission in Syria along with a threat of sanctions.
Russia has promised to veto that version. Its proposal calls for a longer extension of the mission, but no sanctions.
China has backed Russia in blocking previous Western-backed resolutions calling for tough action on Syria.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has met with Chinese leaders in Beijing. He expressed hope that the Security Council will unite to help end the bloodshed in Syria and help the country’s people begin working toward a Syrian-led transition.
“(I’m) deeply concerned and sometimes I cannot sleep when I think of so many people being killed every day, even today and yesterday hundred and two hundred people have been killed. This must stop, at any cost, so that Syrian people can commence immediately political dialogue for political resolution of this issue, reflecting the genuine aspiration and genuine needs of people,” Mr. Ban said.
China’s official People’s Daily newspaper ran a commentary Tuesday rejecting foreign intervention in the Syrian crisis.
Source: VOA News