Syrian rebels proclaim ‘beginning of end’ for Assad’s regime

Last Updated: Thursday, July 19, 2012 - 11:43

Damascus: Syrian opposition groups have proclaimed ‘the beginning of the end’ for President Bashar al-Assad’s regime following a bomb attack in Damascus, which killed three of his closest allies.

The bomb exploded inside the headquarters of Syria’s national security council as officials convened a meeting of the ``crisis cell’ set up to crush the 16-month uprising against the president’s rule.

Syria’s state-run media confirmed the fatalities included Gen Daoud Rajha, the defence minister, Gen Hassan Turkmani, assistant to the vice-president and head of the crisis cell, The Telegraph reports.

Also killed in the deadly attack was Assef Shawkat, the husband of Assad’s sister who was referred to by some Syrians as their “second president”.

According to the paper, Syrian rebels seemed convinced that a turning point had been reached in the civil war.

The Free Syrian Army, which had predicted an imminent “surprise” on the eve of the attack, claimed that its assault on the capital, named “Damascus Volcano”, would take them to the verge of victory.

“This is the volcano we talked about; we have just started. We have smashed the inner circle of Bashar,” Qassem Saadedine, the group’s spokesman said.

The head of the main civilian opposition group, the Syrian National Council, demonstrated similar confidence.

“This is the final phase. They will fall very soon. Today is a turning point in Syria’s history. It will put more pressure on the regime and bring an end very soon,” Abdelbasset Seida said.


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First Published: Thursday, July 19, 2012 - 11:42

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