BEIRUT -- Syrian rebels have bombed the house of a top member of the president's ruling Baath party in the south, and activists say he was killed.

Rebels detonated a car bomb near the house of Hussein Rifai in the city of Daraa, killing him and three of his bodyguards Thursday, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The Observatory relies on reports from the ground.

The official SANA news agency reported the bombing in Daraa but did not say if Rifai was among those killed.

Daraa is the birthplace of the uprising against President Bashar Assad. Rebels fighting to topple him have frequently targeted members of his regime since the revolt started in March 2011.

The uprising became a civil war that has killed more than 40,000 people.