Glen Carey
February 11, 2012

Gunmen killed a Syrian general outside his home in Damascus a day after two suicide bombers attacked a military security branch and police headquarters in the northern city of Aleppo.

Brigadier General Issa al-Kholi was killed by three gunmen as part of a “framework of targeting Syrian intellectuals and the medical and technical cadres,” the official Syrian Arab News Service said today. Al-Kholi was the director of the Hamish Hospital in Damascus, it said.

The prospect of civil war has been growing as the daily death toll mounts and President Bashar al-Assad uses tanks and artillery to try and crush an 11-month rebellion that has left more than 5,400 people dead since it began in March last year, according to UN estimates. Syrian forces killed 35 people today, including 19 in Homs, Al Arabiya television reported, citing the Syrian Revolution Committee.

“The situation is clearly getting worse,” Theodore Karasik, director of research at the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis, said in a phone interview. “What happened in Aleppo is the first sign of moving toward a breakdown of the regime. It is unlikely that Assad can win this with force.”

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