Syrian air defence chief killed in rebel attack on base

Lt Gen Hussein Ishaq one of few high-ranking officers to die in ongoing civil war

Islamist rebels in the Hama region fire their weapons towards  warplanes loyal to Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad. Assad’s  air defence chief Lt Gen Hussein Ishaq was killed yesterday. Photograph: Nour Fourat/Reuters.

Islamist rebels in the Hama region fire their weapons towards warplanes loyal to Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad. Assad’s air defence chief Lt Gen Hussein Ishaq was killed yesterday. Photograph: Nour Fourat/Reuters.

 

The head of Syria’s air defences has been killed in clashes near the capital, Damascus, one of a few high-ranking military officers to be killed in the country’s civil war.

Lt Gen Hussein Ishaq died yesterday as rebels attacked a Syrian air defence base near the town of Mleiha, a government official said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also confirmed Lt Gen Ishaq’s death.

The Observatory said he was killed in clashes with fighters from the Nusra Front, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, and other Islamic rebel groups.

Heavy fighting has happened around Mleiha in recent weeks. Forces loyal to Syrian president Bashar Assad have conducted a heavy bombing campaign around the area, which rebels see as strategically important due to its proximity to the capital.

Lt Gen Ishaq is one of a few high-ranking military officers to be killed in the Syrian war. It is unclear if his death will have any wider strategic or military impact on the war itself.

AP