The attack is a sign that violence in Syria is reaching the tightly controlled capital, which has been relatively quiet compared to other cities. Though there was no immediate claim of responsibility, it could also indicate that rebel soldiers who have risen up in numerous cities and towns are trying to step up action in Damascus.
SANA news agency said three gunmen opened fire at Brig. Gen. Issa al-Khouli in the 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. Such assassinations are not uncommon outside Damascus and army officers have been killed in the past, mostly in the restive provinces of Homs and Idlib.
(Syria Under Siege: Photographs by Alessio Romenzi)
Violence in other parts of the country left at least 11 people dead as regime troops pushed into rebel-held neighborhoods in the restive central city of Homs and shelled the mountain town of Zabadani, north of Damascus. The U.N. estimates that 5,400 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising began in March. But that figure is from January, when the U.N. stopped counting because the chaos in the country has made it all but impossible to check the figures. Hundreds are reported to have been killed since.