The funerals of the first three victims of the blast — Defense Minister Dawoud Rajha, Deputy Defense Minister Gen. Assef Shawkat and Hassan Turkmani, a former defense minister — were held Friday in Syria amid “official presence,” state TV reported.
The state news agency said Vice-President Farouq al-Sharaa and Gen. Fahd al-Freij, the new defense minister, laid wreaths on the men’s coffins.
Assad did not attend and has only appeared in a brief, soundless video clip aired on state TV since the bomb attack.
Shawkat was the husband of Assad’s sister and a major adviser. Rajha was the highest-ranking Christian in Assad’s leadership, which is dominated by members of his own Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiism.
Syria’s Al-Dunia TV later showed brief images of Rajha’s funeral at a church in Damascus. It showed the coffin, wrapped in a red, white and black Syrian flag surrounded by clapping crowds as women dressed in black cried in mourning.
• Karam reported from Beirut. Associated Press writer Suzan Fraser contributed to this report from Ankara.
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