US: Bombing shows Assad is losing control

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Associated Press

Posted on July 18, 2012 at 5:01 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 18 at 5:03 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says today's bombing that killed three top Syrian officials at a high-level meeting in Damascus shows that President Bashar Assad is losing control.

White House spokesman Jay Carney says the situation is "getting worse and worse" -- and that the international community needs to agree on a plan for a political transition in Syria.

A former Mideast analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency says today's bombing was a "blow to the very heart of the regime." Jeffrey White, who's now with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, also says it will have a practical effect on the conflict, because some of the victims were managing the regime's war effort.

The Obama administration today continued to turn up the heat on the Assad regime, slapping financial sanctions on many top members of Assad's government.

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151-r-44-(Sound purported to heavy gunfire from Syrian government soldiers in the city of Midan, from Syria TV)--Sound purported to be Syrian government soldiers shooting in Damascus a few hours after a suicide bomber killed the Syrian defense minister and President Bashar Assad's brother-in-law. ((The AP cannot independently verify the authenticity of this sound.)) (18 Jul 2012)

<<CUT *151 (07/18/12)>> 00:44

147-w-29-(Sagar Meghani (SAH'-gur meh-GAH'-nee), AP national security correspondent, with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond)--Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says the situation in Syria is clearly escalating. AP National Security Correspondent Sagar Meghani reports from the Pentagon. (18 Jul 2012)

<<CUT *147 (07/18/12)>> 00:29

GRAPHICSBANK: Fahd Jassem al-Freij, Syria Defense Minister, undated Syrian official news agency SANA photo on texture with SYRIA lettering, finished graphic (18 Jul 2012)

APPHOTO CAI102: FILE - In this Thursday Oct. 6, 2011 photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad, left, stands next to Syrian Defense Minister Gen. Dawoud Rajha, right, during a ceremony to mark the 38th anniversary of the October 1973 Arab-Israeli war, in Damascus, Syria. Syria's state-run TV says the country's defense minister has been killed in a suicide blast in the capital. Wednesday's attack struck the National Security building in Damascus during a meeting of Cabinet ministers and senior security officials. (AP Photo/SANA, File) (6 Oct 2011)

<<APPHOTO CAI102 (10/06/11)>>

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