Syrian officials killed in Damascus blast; Assad may have used chemical weapons in Homs
With news that top Syrian officials were killed and other senior officials critically injured today, an ex-Ambassador to Iraq says the Syrian government may already have used chemical weapons in Homs.
Media are reporting that the blast was either the work of Rebel forces, who planted and then detonated the bomb, or that this explosion was from terrorists, as Syrian state TV insists.
The dead are Syria’s minister of defense, Daoud Rajiha; his deputy Assef Shawkat, and an aide named Hassan Turkomani. Shawkat was President Bashar Assad’s brother-in-law, according to The Sun.
State television confirmed the deaths of Daoud Rajha and Assad’s brother-in-law Assef Shawkat, reports Reuters, but are calling this event a “terrorist bombing.” They have also pledged to wipe out the “criminal gangs.”
Meanwhile a Syrian politician, recently defecting to the opposition, told BBC news that the regime won’t even hesitate to use chemical weapons if they feel the need to do so.
The man is identified in the BBC story as ex-ambassador to Iraq, Nawaf Fares. In an interview in Qatar he stated: “There is information, unconfirmed information of course, that chemical weapons have been used partially in the city of Homs.” Fares also believes that Sunni Muslim militants from al-Qaeda are collaborating with Assaad’s regime.
He also said that Al-Qaeda has been searching for space to move and means of support, while the Syrian regime seems to be looking for new ways to control its people.