The Free Syrian Army (FSA) claimed responsibility for the bombing of the national security headquarters in Damascus, in a video released on Wednesday.
FSA said the coordinated attack was launched with inside elements close to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s inner circle, and warned Assad’s regime that there will be more similar operations in the future.
The bombing killed defense minister, General Daoud Rajha, and President Bashar al-Assad’s brother-in-law, Assef Shawkat. The latter is the country’s deputy defense minister and a former military intelligence chief.
Soon after Rajha’s killing, Syria appointed Fahad Jasim al-Furaih as the new defense minister.
Accounts, however, differed on how the operation was carried,
A Syrian official told Reuters that the suicide bomber that carried the operation was a bodyguard for one of Assad’s senior officials.
But activists said that a bomb was implanted in the building, and that there was no suicide bomber.
Syrian TV did not broadcast any footage of the incident.
George Sabra, spokesman for the Syrian National Council (SNC), opposition group, told Al Arabiya that the bombing “is a new beginning in the crsis, and it will bring about more protests against the regime.”
Defected colonel, Abed al-Hamid Zakaria, warned that the regime’s gang-like militia could use chemical weapons and that the chaos in the country to spread in the region. “The third Assad republic, not only in Syria, has begun,” he added.
Warning on conflict spillover
Meanwhile, the U.N. Security Council has expressed “grave concern” about cross-border attacks on Lebanon from Syria.
The 15-nation council issued a statement late Wednesday calling for respect for Lebanon’s sovereignty following a bombing that killed three top security officials close to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus.
Tens of thousands of Syrian refugees have fled across the border in recent months and the Lebanese army has moved troops from the border zone with Israel to the Syrian frontier, where there have been deadly incidents in recent weeks.
“Security Council members expressed grave concern over repeated incidents of cross-border fire, incursions, abductions, and arms trafficking across the Lebanese-Syrian border as well as other border violations,” said the statement, which came after a briefing on Lebanon on Monday.
“They underlined the importance of full respect for Lebanon’s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity and the authority of the Lebanese state in accordance with Security Council resolutions.”
The council praised efforts by Lebanese President Michel Sleiman to maintain political unity during the crisis. The Syrian uprising has raised tensions in Lebanon, where rival factions are divided over support for Assad’s regime.
Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, in a TV speech gave his condolences to the Syrian regime. He warned that toppling Assad’s regime will only be beneficial to Israel.