Syrian Bombing Victims Served in Top Military Roles
Defense Minister Daoud Rajha, the most senior government official killed in the Syrian conflict. The 65-year-old former army general also was the most senior Christian government official in Syria. Appointed last August, he was one of the prominent minority figures used by President Assad's government as an example of diversity in the military and security services otherwise dominated by Alawites. The attack on General Rajha is the first assassination of a prominent official in the 16-month uprising against Assad.
Assef Shawkat, President Assad's brother in-law, was a major general and deputy defense minister, as well as deputy chief of staff of security. Part of Mr. Assad’s inner family circle, he was married to the president's elder sister, Bushra.
General Hassan Turkmani, a former defense minister, was responsible for crisis operations. A Sunni Muslim, he added sectarian diversity to Syria's military-intelligence establishment, which is dominated by Assad's Alawite community.
The explosion also seriously wounded other senior government officials, including Interior Minister Mohammed Shaar, the former commander of the military police.