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Dozens dead in twin Damascus blasts
BayBak, Azerbaijan | 379 days ago | Thursday, 10th May , 2012 , 12:22 [pm] | International
|.|| Two powerful blasts in quick succession have killed dozens of people and injured more than 300 others in the Syrian capital Damascus, according to Syrian officials and state media.
One of Thursday’s
Two powerful blasts in quick succession have killed dozens of people and injured more than 300 others in the Syrian capital Damascus, according to Syrian officials and state media.
One of Thursday’s rush hour explosions hit the Qazaz neighbourhood that houses a well-known military intelligence headquarters involved in President Bashar al-Assad’s crackdown on a 14-month uprising.
The interior ministry said at least 55 people were killed and 372 wounded in the blasts.
“Two explosions caused by terrorists took place on the road in the south of Damascus,” state TV reported, adding that the blasts occurred “as people were heading to work and children to school”.
An Associated Press reporter at the scene said medical workers were collecting human remains from the streets after the explosions and heavily damaged cars and pickup trucks stood smouldering in the area.
The outer wall of the nine-storey headquarters collapsed, although the structure inside appeared intact.
Al Jazeera’s Rula Amin, reporting from neighbouring Lebanon, said the explosions had been heard all over the city.
“Damascus residents from different parts of town all heard the explosions. People were really shaken by the power of these blasts. These attacks – every day – become more efficient and more deadly.”
Syrian TV showed dozens of mangled, burnt and smouldering vehicles, some containing incinerated human remains.
A large crater could be seen in the road and at least one lorry had been overturned.
One resident, who said he got within 100 metres of one of the blasts before being turned back by security forces, told Reuters news agency he saw broken glass on the street and women crying. Nearby schools had sent children home for the day.
Upsurge of violence
Major General Robert Mood, chief of a UN observer mission in Syria, rushed to the site of the blasts shortly after they took place to survey the damage, an AFP correspondent reported.
“This is yet another example of the suffering brought upon the people of Syria from acts of violence,” the Norwegian general said as he visited the site of one of the blasts.
“We, the world community, are here with the Syrian people and I call on everyone within and outside Syria to help stop this violence,” he said.
The attacks came a day after the general Mood escaped unharmed when a roadside bomb exploded as he led a team of UN observers into the southern flashpoint city of Deraa.
Responding to the Deraa attack, UN leader Ban Ki-moon warned Syria’s government and opposition that there was only a “brief window” to avoid full-scale civil war and indicated the future of the ceasefire monitoring mission was in doubt.
Highlighting an “alarming upsurge” of roadside bombs, alongside government attacks, Ban said both sides “must realise that we have a brief window to stop the violence, a brief opportunity to create an opening for political engagement between the government and those seeking change”.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says that almost 12,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Syria since the revolt, inspired by Arab Spring uprisings, broke out in March last year.
About 800 of them have died since a UN-backed truce was supposed to have taken effect on April 12.
Damascus was hit by two blasts on May 6, with three soldiers wounded in one of the attacks. Television footage showed a mangled car destroyed by one of the explosions.
A deadly suicide bombing at Zein al-Abidin mosque in the capital’s central Midan district on April 27 killed 11 people and wounded dozens, according to state media.
An armed group calling itself Al-Nusra Front had earlier claimed responsibility for a deadly suicide bombing on April 20 near the Syrian city of Hama that targeted a restaurant used by the security forces.
The Syrian authorities regularly blame the blasts on “terrorist groups” they say are behind the violence that has swept the country for the past 14 months.
The opposition accuses regime forces of being behind the bombings in an attempt to discredit protesters demanding an end to Assad’s rule.aljazeera, Voice of a Nation