Top rebel faction the Free Syrian Army (FSA) is claiming credit for yesterday’s major Damascus bombing, which killed a number of top security officials including the Defense Minister and the Deputy Chief of Staff.
The attack had been called a suicide bombing in all early reports, with the Syrian state media saying that one of the bodyguards of the officials had been recruited and was carrying explosives during the meeting.
The FSA denied this part of the story, however, saying that they had “gained access” to the room where the meeting was held and planted the explosives beforehand, adding that it wasn’t a suicide attack at all.
The distinction is practically a minor one, but could major ramifications internationally. The use of a suicide bomber in assassinations would be one more blow against the Western-backed rebels, and one more opportunity for Assad and his allies to label them “terrorists.” Though a planted bomb hardly seems much different, the lack of a suicide attacker would likely make it easier to spin as a “covert assassination” instead of a terrorist bombing.