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Syria witnesses sharp deterioration in security

(Xinhua)

08:22, July 20, 2012

DAMASCUS, July 19 (Xinhua) -- The 16 months of unrest in Syria reached an unprecedented climax Wednesday when multiple bombings shook the core of President Bashar al-Assad's rule and killed three senior officials.

Analysts believe that the recent escalation of violence signals that the government and rebels are now locked in a life-and-death struggle and confrontation between the two sides could get much nastier.

INEVITABLY HEADING FOR WORSE

A bomb ripped through Syria's national security headquarters during a high-level meeting, killing Defense Minister Dawood Rajha and his deputy Assef Shawkat on the spot.

Assistant Vice President and former Defense Minister Hassan Turkmani died later in a hospital. Among the injured were Interior Minister Mohammad al-Shaar and many others in al-Assad's inner circle.

The rebel Free Syrian Army and an Islamic rebel group Liwa al-Islam both claimed responsibility for the deadly attack.

The rapid deterioration of the situation in the Arab country underlines that both the government and the rebels have gone all-out to win the death match.

On July 12, violence in the central region of Hama resulted in more than 200 deaths, said opposition group Local Coordination Committee.

The government and the opposition have traded accusations. With the truth behind the Hama massacre still up in the air, the country's capital of Damascus was swept up in fighting that began Sunday.

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