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Syria: Hisham Ikhtiar, security chief injured in Damascus attack, dies from wounds: report

Syrian regime loses top guy #4 to Damascus bombing: security chief Hisham Ikhtiar.

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Graphic. (Kyle Kim/GlobalPost)

Syria's state television today announced the death of security head Hisham Ikhtiar, who was wounded in a high-profile bomb attack on top Syrian officials in Damascus on Wednesday, reported Reuters.

More from GlobalPost: Syria: Is the Bashar al-Assad regime crumbling?

"The leadership of the [ruling] Baath party offers its condolences to the people on the death of the comrade, General Hisham Ikhtiyar, chief of national security, who succumbed to his wounds before noon," Agence-France-Press cited the broadcaster as saying

The 71-year-old security chief's death marks the fourth victim of Assad's inner circle killed by Wednesday's bold attack at a top security meeting in the capital. 

Also today, Syrian forces battled with rebels in an effort to reclaim critical border positions in a continued escalatation in violence, reported Reuters

Meanwhile, in Damascus, the fight for the capital continued, said BBC News, as armed rebel try to wrest control from President Bashar al-Assad's regime in what has become the bloodiest week seen in Syria since unrest began over a year ago. 

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said some 310 people died on Thursday, making it "one of the bloodiest days since the uprising began," according to the Washington Post.

The Damascus attack the day before, which killed the country's defense minister, Assad's brother-in-law, and a former army general, has been claimed by the rebel Free Syrian Army as well as an Islamist group while the regime denounced it as a "terrorist" assault, said Reuters

The killings dealt a severe blow to Assad's hold on power as he tries to stamp out a growing rebellion against his rule.

The 16-month conflict in Syria has taken some 17,000 lives, during which time the United Nations Security Council has been unable to agree on a solution to the crisis. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/syria/120720/syria-hisham-ikhtiar-security-chief-injured-damascus-