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Senior army officers ‘attacked in Damascus’

Rebels said it was the start of a string of attacks against ‘commanders of Al Assad’s militias’

Gulf News

Beirut: A Syrian rebel group said it bombed a government security office in the capital, Damascus, on Monday night, targeting a group of senior officers loyal to President Bashar Al Assad. There was no word on casualties.

Sham Brigade group released two videos claiming responsibility for what one member said was the start of a string of attacks against “commanders of Al Assad’s militias.” He said the group would release the names of the targeted officers later.

One video on YouTube showed plumes of smoke rising in the dark from what the group said was the scene of the attack. Gunshots could be heard, followed by the sound of sirens.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an activist group based in Coventry, England, that reports casualties on both sides of the conflict, said on its Facebook page that several security personnel were injured in the attack.

Syria’s state-run Sana news agency said a mortar fell near the car park of the governor’s office, causing minor damage.

Rebels have targeted senior members of the Al Assad regime for more than a year. One bomb last year killed members of Al Assad’s top military establishment who were leading the fight against the Syrian insurgency. They included Al Assad’s brother-in-law, Assef Shawkat, Defence Minister Dawoud Rajhah and the vice-president’s military adviser, Hassan Turkmani. The men were the most senior officials killed since the anti-Al Assad uprising started in March 2011.