Rumours are circulating that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad was wounded in an attack which targeted a high-level security meeting in Damascus on Wednesday.
At the meeting, struck by a suicide bomber according to the regime, some of Assad’s allies were killed including his defence minister and his brother-in-law, who was also the deputy defence minister.
There are reports an injured Assad is now in the port city of Latakia, and his wife has fled to Russia, according to rebels from the Free Syrian Army.
“I expressed my condemnation of the attack yesterday to the Syrian government and I call on the parties to the end the bloodshed, and violence in all its forms, and recommitting to a peaceful solution to this conflict,” said head of the UN observers’ mission General Robert Mood.
Ahead of a Security Council vote on whether to extend the UN observers’ mission, the Norwegian general also told reporters, “we are not on track for peace in Syria”, underlining his disappointment that the monitors were sent to observe a ceasefire that never took effect.
Fierce clashes were reported last night in two central neighbourhoods in Damascus.
Thursday has seen more heavy fighting in the capital, with government forces deploying armoured vehicles.