DAMASCUS, May 18 (Xinhua) -- A Syria military general was killed Sunday during clashes with armed rebels in a restive suburb of the capital Damascus, a pro-government news website and activists reported.
Gen. Hussain Ishaq, the head of the air defense directorate, died of wounds he sustained during clashes on the outskirts of the Damascus' eastern suburb of Mlaiha, where intense battles were taking place between the rebels and the Syrian government troops, according to the Damascus Now website
Meanwhile, the report said the Syrian air forces carried out airstrikes against rebel positions in Mlaiha.
The oppositional Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain- based watchdog group, said it had information about the death of Ishaq, saying the top officer died of his wounds after clashes with the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front.
Still, the official news agency SANA has yet to confirm the report.
Separately, SANA said four people were killed Sunday when a roadside bomb tore through a passenger bus in the oil-rich province of Deir al-Zour in eastern Syria.
The three-year crisis started in mid-March 2011 when anti- government protesters took to the streets calling for reforms, which rapidly evolved into a civil war. Over 150,000 people have been killed so far.