Posted: Jul 18, 2012 4:00 PM
Updated: Jul 18, 2012 4:00 PM
Source: Associated Press
BEIRUT - Syrian President Bashar Assad hasn't yet issued any statements on today's bomb attack that killed three top officials of his regime -- including his brother-in-law -- during a high-level security meeting in Damascus.
Fighting between rebels and government troops has raged in the capital for four days in a row. And today's assassinations could signal a turning point in the civil war.
Syrian TV confirms the deaths of the country's defense minister (Dawoud Rajha), a former army general. He's the most senior government official to be killed in the rebels' battle to oust Assad.
Also confirmed dead is a deputy defense minister who was married to Assad's elder sister. And a former defense minister was also killed.
State-run TV initially said it was a suicide attack, but now refers to the attack as a bomb. A rebel commander who claimed responsibility for the attack confirms that the bomb was planted and then detonated. He says all those involved in carrying out the attack are safe.
The rebel commander, Riad al-Asaad, says he hopes "this is the beginning of the end of the regime."
A member of an opposition group says the assassinations sent a clear message to the regime that no one is safe -- including the president himself.