Syrian Minister of Defense Among Victims in Damascus Attack

Syrian Minister of Defense Among Victims in Damascus AttackDamascus, Jul 18.- General Daoud Rajha, Syrian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, died today in a terrorist attack against National Security headquarters, which also critically injured other participants in a meeting at that facility.

The attack was staged around mid-day when a meeting of ministers and representatives of chiefs of Syrian security entities was taking place.

In that action was also killed General Asef Shawkat, deputy minister of Defense and considered a person close to the inner circle of President Bashar al-Assad.

Syrian television channels have been broadcasting patriotic marches and footage of military drills which were developed by the late Minister of Defense.

Syrian SANA news agency reported that Wednesday's explosion targeted the National Security building, where offices of Syrian intelligence, led by General Hisham Ijtiar, are also located.

The police have cordoned off the area, while restricting press access to the scene, in the neighborhood of Rawday in downtown Damascus.

The attack occurs at a time in which the UN Security Council is discussing and preparing to vote on resolutions on the situation in Syria.

One of the resolutions, sponsored by Great Britain, the US, and France, is aimed at increasing pressures on the Syrian government, including threats of enforcing Chapter 7 of the UN charter, to which Russia and China have expressed their opposition.

In a reaction of immediate defense, the Syrian government has appointed commander-general Fahed Jassem Al-Frej as new minister of Defense and deputy commander of Syrian Army and Armed Forces. (Radio Cadena Agramonte).