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Military official shot dead in Damascus

Dr Issa al-Kholi is the highest ranking military official to have been killed since unrest began almost a year ago.

Image: Mohammad Hannon/AP/Press Association Images

THE SYRIAN GOVERNMENT has blamed a terrorist group for the assassination of a senior military official in Damascus today.

The army general is the highest ranking military official to have been killed in the escalating violence which began with peaceful protests back in March 2011.

Official Syrian news agency SANA reports that three gunmen targeted Dr Issa al-Kholi outside his home.

The AP reports that such assassinations are not uncommon outside of the capital and today’s shooting suggests that violence is creeping into tightly-controlled Damascus.

Twenty-eight people were killed in a double bombing in the city of Aleppo yesterday. Today, 11 people were reportedly killed today as state security forces continue to push into the rebel stronghold city of Homs while shelling Zabadani in western Syria.

In its last estimate, the UN said that at least 5,400 people had been killed in the government’s violent crackdown on dissent, but the organisation has stopped counting because verifying the figures has become increasingly difficult.

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- Additional reporting by the AP

Read: Syria: 28 killed in Aleppo bomb blasts >

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