Syrian interior minister in Beirut for treatment


Syria’s Interior Minister, Mohammad Ibrahim al-Shaar, arrived in Lebanon on Wednesday for medical treatment. A week after bombers attacked his ministry in central Damascus, security sources told Reuters.

Al-Shaar was admitted to the American University Hospital in Beirut, according to Lebanese media reports.

The sources gave no details of his condition, but said it was not critical. Some Syrian rebels had said on Tuesday that al-Shaar was seriously wounded last Wednesday when a car bomb and two other explosives went off at the main gate of the Interior Ministry, killing a member of parliament.

The Syrian jihadist opposition group, al-Nusra Front, claimed responsibility in a statement via their official Twitter account.

“Thank God, we targeted the interior ministry building in Kfar Sousa district in Damascus at 5:30 pm on Wednesday, Dec. 12,” the extremist group Tweeted.

Fighting then erupted inside the ministry complex, reported AFP news agency.

According to the al-Nusra front the attack started when two suicide bombers detonated their explosive belts inside the building, triggering clashes. Two car bombs exploded shortly afterwards.

One car was positioned in front of the office of the minister, Mohammed Ibrahim al-Shaar, who sustained a light shoulder wound when his office ceiling collapsed, a security source told AFP.

“He was taken to hospital but his condition gives no cause for concern and he should be discharged rapidly” he explained.

The source went on to add that the attack was made possible by a “betrayal” in the security services of the ministry.

“It is impossible for a car to approach the entrance to the Ministry if it is not an official vehicle,” he said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said nine people were killed in the attack, including a parliamentarian and eight members of the security forces, while 20 others were wounded.

The state news agency SANA reported five fatalities and 23 wounded.

Al-Shaar narrowly escaped death in a spectacular July 18 bombing that claimed the lives of four other top security officials, including the defense minister and the brother-in-law of President Bashar al-Assad