BASHAR’S INNER CIRCLE TARGETED
Syrian rebels claimed, on Saturday 05/19/2012, in an Internet statement, that they carried out a sophisticated attack that killed top political and security officials in a meeting in the capital Damascus. On Sunday Syrian state TV denied reports that Syrian opposition forces had killed six top regime officials, including Assef Shawakat (pic) in an overnight operation near Damascus. Two of the men who were allegedly killed, Mohammad Al-Shaar and Hassan Turkmani, gave a live phone interview on the TV channel’s news show.
Few hours later the Syrian activist opposition group, the Local Coordination Committee, claimed, on Monday 05/21/2012 morning, following a night of mysterious explosions and gun shootings in Damascus, that six high-ranking officials of President Bashar Assad inner circle have been killed by the rebel forces known as the Free Syrian Army – FSA.
One of those killed was reportedly Assef Shawkat, the head of Syrian military intelligence and Bashar Assad’s brother-in-law. Sources from the Revolutionary Council for Damascus are trying to confirm who exactly was killed or injured, according to the reports.
According to the Local Coordination Committee in Damascus, in addition to Shawkat the list included: Minister of Interior Mohammad Al-Shaar; Minister of Defence Daoud Rajha; National Security Chief Hisham Bakhtiar; Hassan Turkmani, assistant to the vice president and former chief of staff and Mohammad Said Bakhtian, assistant to the Baath Party chief.
The Syrian regime accused Al-Jazeera T.V Network and Al-Arabiya, who aired the reports, of inciting “discord” in Syria ever since a revolt broke out in 03/2011. Since the credibility of the FSA is in question most of the international media doubted if such an extreme success of the Syrian rebels really happened. Indeed one member of the Syrian National Council – SNC, the main opposition coalition, said the goal of the video was to “sow doubts.” “There is a war that aims to demoralise people,” according to SNC member Jabr Al-Shoufi.
An opposition source said on Monday evening that “a special unit from the Free Syrian Army poisoned the meal” being consumed Saturday evening by Assef Shawkat and other senior Assad regime officials. The source said opposition leaders do not believe the special unit received assistance from USA, Western or regional intelligence agencies or militaries. Abdul Halim Khaddam , the former vice president of Syria and now in exile in France, confirmed that Assef Shawkat was killed on 05/19/2012 (Saturday evening).
Alarabiya TV channel reported, on Tuesday 05/22/2012 night, despite ongoing Syrian official denial, that Syrian officials had confirmed reports that President Bashar Assad’s brother-in-law and former head of military intelligence Assef Shawkat was killed in a Free Syrian Army attack four days ago. According to the report, on Monday, President Assad and his wife Asma visited a Damascus Hospital, where Shawkat was believed to have been receiving treatment.
Side note: half a year earlier, on 12/11/2011, opposition sources already said General Assef Shawkat was killed during heated argument with his aide.
To some it up it is most likely that Bashar Assad’s inner circle was targeted in a premeditated operation, probably with the help of foreign agencies, using a double agent or a trusted intruder. It seems that the operation was only partially successful and that Assef Shawkat himself was hurt by some sort of poison. It is not fully confirmed that he eventually also died. The more significant result of the mysterious event is that the most secure inner circle of the Syrian regime was penetrated.
* Related topics ;
05/2012 – DOUBLE BOMBING IN DAMASCUS KILLED DOZENS
04/2012 -OVER 20 KILLED IN IDLIB’S INTELLIGENCE COMPOUND
03/2012 -THE SHIITE ARC
- 03/2012 -27 KILLED IN DAMASCUS DOUBLE BLAST