A top Syrian military official was killed in clashes outside of Damascus Saturday. He's one of the few high-ranking Syrian officers to die during Syria's bloody civil war.
An anonymous government official confirmed to the press that Lt. Gen. Hussein Ishaq, the head of Syria's air defense, died of his injuries following a rebel attack on an air defense base near the town of Mleiha, a rebel bastion on the outskirts of Damascus. (Via BBC)
Ishaq's death is not expected to make a tremendous impact on the fighting. Air defense has rarely been a priority for the regime during their battle with the ground-based rebel forces. (Via Al Jazeera)
But the head of the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights called the news an "important psychological blow" to the regime, and a Time reporter writes the killing will undercut the government's narrative about the war's progress.
"The fact that the armed opposition was able to penetrate a well-defended base was a potent reminder that the fighting continues just outside the capital's security bubble, despite many Syrians’ assertion that the war is in its waning days."
Voice of America reports Ishaq was killed after regime forces attempted to take Mleiha from the rebels as part of a push to control the regions around Damascus ahead of the country's June 3 presidential elections.
More than 150,000 people have been killed over the course of Syria's three-year civil war.