Google+

Brother-in-law of Syrian President killed in bomb blast as rebels close in on Assad regime

Syria’s Defence Minister Daoud Rajiha was also killed in what is considered to be the harshest blow to the Syrian regime since the uprising began

The brother-in-law of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been has been killed in a bomb blast in Damascus, the country’s state television confirmed today.

General Assef Shawkat – who was married to Assad’s elder sister, Bushra – was the deputy defence minister and among the most feared figures in Assad’s inner circle.

Syria’s Defence Minister Daoud Rajiha, the most senior Christian government official in Syria, was also killed in the attack, and interior minister Mohammed Shaar seriously injured.

The attack, considered the harshest blow to the Syrian regime since the uprising began, took place at the headquarters of Syria’s National Security Bureau during a meeting of Cabinet ministers and senior security officials.

Riad al-Asaad, Syria’s rebel commander, confirmed that his forces carried out the attack but denied it was a suicide bombing, as was initially reported.

Speaking from his headquarters in Turkey, Riad al-Asaad said that rebel forces planted a bomb inside the room where senior government officials were meeting.

He added that all those who carried out the operation are safe, and claimed the attack marked “the beginning of the end of the regime”.

The attack comes after four straight days of fighting in Damascus, as rebels harden their offensive and try and bring down Assad’s regime by force.

The SANA news agency said government troops were chasing rebels in the Midan neighbourhood, causing “great losses among them”, and the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said army helicopters had attacked the neighbourhoods of Qaboun and Barzeh.

Although the Syrian government has downplayed the rebels’ advance on Damascus, the death of Shawkat and Rajiha, and the recent defection of several high profile officials, will be seen by rebels as signs of a weakening resistance.

Although it is unclear who was behind today’s attack, the high-level assassinations could signal a turning point in the 16-month conflict as the violence becomes increasingly chaotic.

Rebel fighters are launching increasingly deadly attacks on regime targets, and several massive suicide attacks this year suggest al Qaida or other extremists are joining the fray.

Shortly after today’s bombing, the Syrian army released a statement saying its forces will continue to fight the rebels.

“Whoever thinks that by targeting the country’s leaders they will be able to twist Syria’s arm is disillusioned because Syria’s people, army and leadership are now more determined than ever to fight terrorism … and cleanse the nation from the armed gangs.”

Shawkat and Rajiha’s deaths come as UN chiefs try to persuade China and Russia to agree to tougher measures on Syria ahead of a Security Council vote to impose sanctions, expected to take place in New York later today.

UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon met Chinese leader Hu Jintao in Beijing.

In the aftermath of today’s bombing, however, Sergey Lavrov, the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, accused the West of inciting the Syrian opposition.

Lavrov was quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency as saying “instead of calming the opposition down, some of our partners are inciting it to go on.”

Western nations want a new resolution threatening measures short of the use of force.

The Western-backed draft resolution to be discussed gives the Syrian government 10 days to withdraw heavy weapons from cities and return troops to barracks, otherwise a further resolution on sanctions will be submitted to the Security Council.

Source:  www.independent.co.uk

Entertainment

Sophie and the Rising Sun

  Sophie and the Rising Sun Starring: Julianne Nicholson, Margo Martindale, Lorraine Toussaint, Takashi Yamaguchi, Diane Ladd, Joel Murray and Bobby Henline Screenplay by: Maggie Greenwald Based on the novel by: Augusta Trobaugh Directed by: Maggie Greenwald Produced by:  Brenda Goodman, Nancy Dickenson, Lorraine Gallard, Maggie Greenwald Co-Producer: Susan Lazarus Running Time: 105 min MPAA:  R Genre:  Drama Set in the autumn … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Books

The President’s Kitchen Cabinet

  The President's Kitchen Cabinet The Story of the African-Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families, from the Washingtons to the Obamas by Adrian Miller University of North Carolina Press Hardcover, $30.00 292 pages, Illustrated ISBN: 978-1-4696-3253-7 Book Review by Kam Williams “[This opus] vividly tells the stories of the African-Americans who worked in the presidential food service as chefs, personal cooks, butlers, stewards … [Read More its Good for You...]

Art

The Day After the Day Of

  The Day After the Day Of by Paul Ilechko   The sky sheds its tears. This morning is the morning of the day after. The day of mourning, the day after the day of.  I beseech the sky to shed tears in order to wash away the tears on my face.   This is the first day of the time after. This is the beginning of a new time, the days of pain, the days of sorrow. We are in mourning. The sky looks down and sheds its tears for … [Read More its Good For You...]

Real Estate

History Being Sold to the Highest Bidder

  History Being Sold to the Highest Bidder by Amy Lignor   For the longest time, scientists and archaeologists have been confused and bemused by various discoveries they’ve unearthed that offer little or no explanation as to the who, what, and why of the people who created these things or left them behind. Even now, in 2017, there are discoveries being studied; stories that were once legends now have actual bits of proof being found that … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Lifestyle

Ice Cube in a Mellow Mood!

  Ice Cube    The “Fist Fight” Interview with Kam Williams Ice Cube in a Mellow Mood! Born O'Shea Jackson in Compton, California on June 15, 1969, Renaissance man Ice Cube is an actor, writer, producer, director, rapper, philanthropist and father. N.W.A., the rap group he co-founded with Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, MC Ren and DJ Yella, was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2016. Cube made his feature film debut in 1991 in Boyz n … [Read More its Good for You...]

Outdoors

ChatterBaits a Key for Early Season Bass

  ChatterBaits a Key for Early Season Bass When the ChatterBait bladed jig burst onto the scene in 2006, many anglers considered it another ‘flash in the pan’ lure that would quickly slide off the radar, as seems to be so common in the fishing world.  However, over the last ten years, this unique spinner/jig hybrid has carved out a permanent spot in the tackle boxes of most serious bass anglers and has repeatedly been a top producer in … [Read More its Good for You...]

Sports

Looking Forward to the NFL’s “Top” Free Agents

  Looking Forward to the NFL’s “Top” Free Agents by Amy Lignor   Now that the Patriots have (once again) walked away with the Super Bowl title, it is time that the NFL teams focus on the draft and what free agents they need to most definitely keep on their roster. The Pittsburgh Steelers always seem to be on all the “experts” lists to make it to the end and finally get back to the Super Bowl’s main stage. Unfortunately, the Steelers can’t … [Read More its Good for You...]

Business

Business Industries to Explore in 2017

  Business Industries to Explore in 2017 by Amy Lignor   It’s no surprise that with the popular TV show “Shark Tank” taking over the headlines, promoting small businesses and giving people the chance to ‘make it big,’ that the industry researchers have gotten together a list of the very best opportunities when it comes to starting up companies in 2017. The profits are there, in some categories, just waiting to be made, and most do … [Read More its Good for You...]

Travel

Perfect Vacation Spots in Small Town, USA

  Perfect Vacation Spots in Small Town, USA by Amy Lignor   Yes, big cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, as well as Orlando always rate as being perfect vacation spots to travel to in the U.S. of A. But, oddly enough, small towns are out there littering the road maps that are fun and kooky enough to draw visitors each and every day. Some even have extremely fun names like, Accident, Maryland, Peculiar, MO, and even Ugly, TX. So if … [Read More its Good for You...]

Green Living

Creating the Perfect Vegetable Garden

  Creating the Perfect Vegetable Garden by Amy Lignor   Many are still dealing with that wintery mix Mother Nature just loves to toss down from the sky this time of year. Yet, that gardener living inside the soul – the one just dreaming of the sunny skies and lazy rainy days that are must-haves in order to grow the best vegetables possible – is already jotting down the facts, tricks and tips they need to know in order to make that … [Read More its Good for You...]