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Syrian Rebels Kill Top Ruling Party Official

Syrian rebels killed a top official in the ruling Baath party Thursday, along with three of his bodyguards.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 11/29/2012, 3:47 PM

Aftermath of Syrian gov't strike in Dera'a
Aftermath of Syrian gov't strike in Dera'a
Reuters

Syrian rebels killed a top official in the ruling Baath party Thursday, along with three of his bodyguards. The assassination took place in the southern Syrian city of Dera'a, where the revolution against President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011.

Rebel forces detonated a car bomb next to the home of Hussein Rifai, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The bombing was reported by Syrian state news agency SANA, but it did not provide details on whether Rifai was among the dead.

The bombing, typical of attacks by Al Qaeda-linked Islamist terrorists, raises the increasingly complex issue of which forces have joined the opposition, and who is fighting which battle.

Ten days ago a council of 13 Muslim extremist terror organizations declared the northern city of Aleppo to be an independent Islamist city. The groups, many of which are Al Qaeda-type organizations, also stated they were seceding
from the rest of the opposition, scorning the loosely organized, Western-backed Syrian National Council as a “foreign-controlled” entity.

Thursday's attack follows on the heels of a twin suicide car bombing that ripped through a Damascus suburb just minutes apart on Wednesday, killing at least 34 people and wounding more than 80 others. There have been dozens of car bombings in the capital in the past several months, as the civil war narrows its focus to the heart of the nation. 

But the battles also continues elsewhere around the country as well. A  warplane belonging to forces loyal to Assad was shot down in Daret Azzah yesterday (Wednesday) by Free Syrian Army fighters in northern Syria, using an anti-aircraft missile, according to the Observatory. Missiles and other ordnance have begun to make their way into rebel hands, flowing across the borders through various means, including even on the backs of donkeys.

Rebel forces have attacked state security institutions and bases, wealthy neighborhoods and VIPs. In July, opposition forces bombed a Cabinet meeting at an intelligence headquarters that included ministers and senior security officials. A defense minister and his deputy – Assad's brother-in-law -- were killed, as well as a former defense minister.

At least 40,000 people have died thus far in the revolution that began as a peaceful protest in inspired by the region-wide Arab Spring uprisings. It escalated into a savage civil war in response to the brutal government crackdown that followed.