Last Updated: Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:01 am (KSA) 08:01 am (GMT)

Syrian president in Latakia, directing response to attack: opposition sources

After Damascus bombing that killed key senior officials, including Syria’s defense minister, Daoud Rajha, President Bashar al-Assad is in the Mediterranean city of Latakia to prepare response to the attack. (Reuters)
After Damascus bombing that killed key senior officials, including Syria’s defense minister, Daoud Rajha, President Bashar al-Assad is in the Mediterranean city of Latakia to prepare response to the attack. (Reuters)

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is in the coastal city of Latakia, directing a response to the assassination of three of his top lieutenants, opposition sources and a Western diplomat said on Thursday.

Assad, who has not made a public appearance since Wednesday's bombing, which killed his brother-in-law and two other key military figures, was commanding the government operation, they said. It was not clear whether Assad travelled to the Mediterranean sea resort before or after the attack.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron says Assad must step down following the escalation of violence and bombings in Damascus.

Cameron also appealed to Russia and China to support a new U.N. resolution that threatens non-military sanctions and is tied to Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which could eventually allow the use of force to end the conflict.

He made the call in Kabul on Thursday, where he is meeting with the Afghan president and Pakistani prime minister to discuss the ongoing war in Afghanistan.

The British leader says it is time for Bashar Assad “to go” and transition his regime, saying that otherwise civil war is inevitable.

Meanwhile, the death toll has crossed 17,000 since the uprising against President Bashar Assad began in March 2011, claimed the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

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