Brazen Rebel Attacks Kill Senior Syrian Leaders

World leaders call for intervention as Assad regime takes more fatal blows.

In this photo from Friday, Nov. 02, 2012, a rebel fighter walks among the debris of damaged residential buildings after several days of intense fighting between rebel fighters and the Syrian army in the Karm al-Jebel neighborhood in Aleppo, Syria.

A rebel fighter walks past damaged residential buildings in Aleppo, Syria, Nov. 02, 2012.

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Rebel bomb blasts Wednesday morning marked a new wave of violence in blood-soaked Syria, killing a judge within earshot of the president's residence in Damascus.

Anti-Assad fighters targeted the car of Judge Abad Nadhwah with mortar rounds, reports The New York Times, in the second high-profile killing after 20 months of fighting. The U.N. continues to balk at a direct action strategy, while hundreds of thousands of refugees spill over the border into neighboring countries.

The government of Turkey, long at odds with the Assad regime, is considering deploying Patriot missiles to quell Syrian military air strikes on its own citizens that venture near the Turkish boarder, according to the Times. This would represent a major escalation in military actions between the two countries and could extend into the already volatile region.

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Other bombs exploded in three districts of Damascus late Tuesday, killing the brother of the parliament speaker, according to The Guardian. At least 15 people were killed in one of the blasts, the opposition said. State media reported 10 had died and 30 were wounded in another.

Gunmen assassinated Mohammed Osama al-Laham, the brother of the speaker of parliament, The Guardian reports state media as saying. Rebel fighters are increasingly targeting senior officials, including parliamentarians, Baath party officers and any others seen to support the Assad regime, including actors and doctors.

If British prime minister David Cameron's congratulatory message to President Barack Obama was any example, the international community will expect the U.S. to get much more involved in Syria in the immediate future.

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Cameron is currently inspecting refugee camps at the Syria-Jordan border, and described the situation there as "horrendous," according to a BBC report.

"One of the first things I want to talk to Barack about is how we must do more to try and solve this crisis" in Syria, Cameron said during his visit. "Above all, congratulations to Barack. I've enjoyed working with him, I think he's a very successful U.S. president and I look forward to working with him in the future."

The U.N. negotiator tasked with brokering a peace after 20 months of fighting warns the situation may escalate to the kind of crisis that redefined U.N. intervention efforts.

"Syria could be another Somalia," Lakhdar Brahimi said on Tuesday.

The humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa country in the early 1990s became an example of both the necessity of the international community to intervene in cases of genocide, and the devastating effects when a military response goes wrong. Eighteen Americans were killed and dozens others were wounded during Operation Gothic Serpent in Mogadishu, made famous by the movie "Black Hawk Down."

Check out the results of the violence in these unconfirmed tweets:

"The Great Mosque burned today," says this tweet:

#Syria #Damascus جامع دوما الكبير الذي احرق اليوم…

— Muhammad (@Muhammadmgh) November 7, 2012

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Paul D. Shinkman is a national security reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow him on Twitter or reach him at