Syria: the carefully planned killings presage more bloodshed to come

The Telegraph reports: Initial reports emanating from state media that a suicide attacker exploding a car bomb was responsible can now be discounted. The building’s exterior was undamaged and this assault was too well-aimed. The Free Syrian Army claims it was an inside job, that up to 10 bodyguards and aides to senior figures in the security apparatus had decided to defect. They were told to stay put and plant a bomb in the meeting room where the committee coordinating the regime’s response to the uprising met.

An Islamist subgroup – the Brigade of Islam – also claimed responsibility, but the two stories are not incompatible. There are Islamist groups both inside and co-operating with the FSA, and it would have taken a number of individuals with a number of talents to make it work. That would have included sophisticated bomb-making skills.

Anyone who has read a history of the Second World War will have been reminded of the Von Stauffenberg plot, when a disaffected army officer planted a bomb under a table during a meeting with Hitler. The Syrian opposition succeeded where elite German officers failed.

[S]enior rebel officials told The Daily Telegraph that bombs hidden in a flower arrangement and a chocolate box were remotely detonated by defectors working to bring down the regime from within.

Both the Free Syrian Army and a jihadi group calling itself Liwa al-Islam claimed responsibility, although they may have been acting in collaboration.

“There were two bombs,” Louay al-Mokdad, the FSA’s logistical coordinator said. “One was hidden in a packet of chocolates and one in a big flower pot that was in the middle of the table of the conference room.” He claimed that the operation was conducted by a group of FSA members in collaboration with drivers and bodyguards working for Mr Assad’s inner circle, a version repeated by other activists.

The two devices, one made of 25lb of TNT, and the other a smaller “C4” plastic explosive, were said to have been planted in the room days before the meeting by an opposition mole working for Gen Ikhtiyar. Mr Mokdad claimed that the meeting may have been led by Mr Assad or by his brother Maher, who has been the regime’s battlefield commander in the uprising. “I have just spoken with the driver who brought the explosive package,” he said. “He is trying to understand who led the meeting; whether it was Bashar or Maher.”

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