Syrian security chief dies in blast

Syrian security chief dies in blast

Clashes continue in Damascus

Syrian security chief dies in blast

A fourth member of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s inner circle died on Friday from a bomb attack this week and his forces fought to recapture border posts and parts of Damascus from rebels who have converged on the capital.

As refugees flooded across Syria’s borders and UN officials said they had heard banks in Damascus had run out of cash, Russia’s envoy to Paris added to a sense Assad’s days were numbered by saying he had accepted he would have to leave power. Syrian state television flashed a government statement soon afterwards saying the comments were “completely devoid of truth.”

Syrian state television said intelligence chief Hisham Bekhtyar had died on Friday morning of wounds sustained in Wednesday’s attack.

Clashes continued in Damascus for a sixth day and at least three people were killed when Syrian army helicopters fired rockets at the southeastern neighbourhood of Saida Zeinab, opposition activists said.


Rebels from elsewhere in Syria have poured into the capital for what they say is the final battle for Damascus.


“The regime is going through its last days,” Abdelbasset Seida, the leader of the main Syrian opposition umbrella group, the Syrian National Council, said in Rome, predicting a possible dramatic escalation in violence.


Clashes were fiercest overnight in the sprawling Mezzeh district, where rebels appear to be sustaining attacks on many security compounds located there, residents said.
State television said Syrian forces had cleared the central district of Midan of “mercenaries and terrorists.” Opposition activists and rebels sources confirmed on Friday that they had withdrawn after coming under heavy bombardment.

Government forces struck the rebel-held Bab al-Hawa border post on the frontier with Turkey overnight and shelled the city of Abu Kamal near the main checkpoint on the border with Iraq which was seized by rebels on Thursday, the Observatory said.

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