Syria's intelligence chief Hisham Bekhtyar has died of his wounds he recieved in the suicide bomb blast on Wednesday that killed 3 other members of his inner circle.
A fourth member of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's inner circle died on Friday from wounds sustained in a bomb attack this week and his forces fought to recapture border posts and parts of Damascus from rebels targeting the heart of his power.
As refugees flooded across Syria's borders and banks were reported to have run out of cash, Russia's envoy to Paris added to a sense Assad's days were numbered by saying he had accepted he would have to leave power.
Syrian state television flashed a government statement saying the comments were "completely devoid of truth" while Russia's Paris embassy said they had been taken out of context.
Assad, 46, has not spoken since Wednesday's attack on a meeting of his high command and only appeared on Thursday to appoint a new defense minister to replace one of the assassinated men.
The next few days will be critical in determining whether Assad's government can recover from the devastating blow of the bombing on Wednesday of Assad's inner circle which destroyed its aura of invulnerability.
Syrian state television said a funeral ceremony for the defense minister, his deputy - Assad's brother-in-law - and a senior general was held on Friday in Damascus, without mentioning whether Assad attended.
It also said Syria's intelligence chief Hisham Bekhtyar had died of wounds from the attack on Assad's close-knit six-man "crisis unit", in charge of suppressing the 16-month uprising threatening four decades of Assad's Alawite family rule.
In the latest violence in Damascus, rebels set fire to a military barracks which opposition sources said was used as a training ground for shabbiha militiamen loyal to Assad after a two-day siege, a witness said.
There's a lot of wishful thinking going on about Syria that doesn't take into account that the infrastructure of tyranny and oppression is still loyal to Assad and continues to function. At least 2 divisions of the army can be counted on as well as the 100,000 member Shabbiha militia. The Baath party is still loyal as are many merchants and businessmen who depend on favors dispensed by Assad for their livelihood.
This is not Libya -- not yet anyway. Assad's forces counterattacked today and apparently won back much of the ground it lost yesterday. The rebels aren't organized enough to take and hold territory for any length of time and until they are, Assad will probably survive.