May 18, 2014 8:12:08 pm
The head of Syria’s air defences was killed in clashes near the capital, Damascus, a government official and activists said Sunday, one of a few high-ranking military officers to be killed in the country’s 3-year-old civil war.
Lt Gen Hussein Ishaq died on Saturday as rebels attacked a Syrian air defence base near the town of Mleiha, the official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorised to brief journalists about Ishaq’s death.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also confirmed Ishaq’s death. It said he died from wounds he suffered during Saturday’s fighting. The Observatory, which bases its reports on a network of activists on the ground, said Ishaq was killed in clashes with fighters from the Nusra Front, the al-Qaida affiliate in Syria, and other Islamic rebel groups.
Heavy fighting has happened around Mleiha in recent weeks. Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad have conducted a heavy bombing campaign around the area, which rebels see as strategically important due to its proximity to the capital.
Ishaq is one of a few high-ranking military officers to be killed in the Syrian war. It’s unclear if his death will have any wider strategic or military impact on the war itself, however.
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