Syrian rebel
Photo: AP
Syria: Gunmen assassinate army general
SANA news agency reports 3 gunmen open fire at Brigedier-General Issa al-Khouli in Damascus as violence in Syria reaches tightly controlled capital
Syria's state-run news agency says gunmen have assassinated an army general in the capital Damascus.


It's the first killing of a high military officer in the Syrian capital since the uprising against President Bashar Assad's regime began in March.


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The SANA news agency says three gunmen opened fire at Brigedier-General Issa al-Khouli on Saturday morning as he left his home in the Damascus neighborhood of Rukn-Eddine. Al-Khouli was a doctor and the chief of a military hospital in the capital. The attack indicates that violence in Syria is reaching the tightly controlled capital, which has been relatively quiet compared to other cities.


Syrian forces unleashed new tank and rocket bombardments on opposition neighborhoods of Homs on Saturday while diplomats sought United Nations backing for an Arab plan to end 11 months of bloodshed in Syria.


Activists said seven people were killed in the latest attacks in a week-long government siege of Homs, a battered city at the heart of the uprising to oust President Bashar al-Assad.


"The four included a 55-year-old woman. They were killed by shelling that hit their building in Bab Amro," a Homs opposition activist, Mohammad Hassan, told Reuters by satellite telephone.


The bloodshed followed a day of violence across Syria on Friday, when bombings targeting security bases killed at least 28 people in Aleppo and rebel fighters battled troops in a Damascus suburb after dark.


Lebanon shows its support

Meanwhile, One person was killed and several soldiers wounded in street battles in Lebanon's northern city of Tripoli on Saturday, a security source said, in a second day of violence involving supporters and opponents of Syrian president.


Residents said rocket-propelled grenades were fired from the Sunni Muslim district of Bab al-Tabbaneh towards the Alawite district of Jebel Mohsen, but caused no injuries.


On Saturday, Reuters Television footage showed gunmen taking cover on street corners and firing volleys of automatic gunfire.


"We are the supporters of the Syrian revolution in Lebanon, and we are going to (fight) the shabbiha," one of the gunmen said, referring to pro-Assad militias blamed by Syrian opposition activists for much of the killing in Syria.


Assad's crackdown of the uprising has killed more than 5,400 people, according to United Nations figures.


AP and Reuters contributed to this report




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