Pro Assad protest on Friday
Photo: AFP

Reports: 2 blasts rock Damascus

Syrian television says 'terrorist explosions' hit aviation intelligence department, criminal security department; at least 27 security forces, civilians dead

Two "terrorist explosions" struck security targets in the Syrian capital Saturday morning, killing 27 people and injuring about 100, the country's state news agency said.


The news agency said preliminary reports indicated they blasts were caused by car bombs that hit the aviation intelligence department and the criminal security department, located near a building housing the Syrian television network.  


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However, conflicting reports came pouring in as eyewitnesses told the BBC they saw smoke billowing above the headquarters of the Baath ruling party. 


Video from a blast at an intelligence center showed the front of the building blown away, with numerous burnt out cars littering the street below.


Watch scene of blast in Damascus


The second bomb targeted a police building, with television showing the smouldering wreckage of a car at the site, and what appeared to be at a charred corpse inside the mangled shell.


A minivan nearby had a pool of blood on the floor. Its doors and windows were shattered and its panels were also stained red with blood. Damascus residents said clouds of black smoke could be seen rising from the areas where the blasts struck.


Meanwhile, al-Arabiya network quoted opposition elements as saying that the explosions were followed by gunfire.


The explosions come two days after the first anniversary of the uprising against President Bashar Assad.


String of bombings

The UN-Arab League envoy on the Syrian crisis, Kofi Annan, has urged the Security Council to unify and back his efforts to end the violence that has brought Syria to the brink of civil war.


Syria has seen a string of suicide bombings, the last major one on Feb. 10, when twin blasts struck security compounds in the government stronghold city of Aleppo, killing 28 people.


Damascus, another Assad stronghold, has seen three suicide previous bombings since December.

The regime has touted the attacks as proof that it is being targeted by "terrorists." The opposition accuses forces loyal to the government of being behind the bombings to tarnish the uprising.

Nobody has claimed responsibility for the explosions.


The UN estimates that more that 8,000 people have been killed since the uprising against Assad began last March.


In recent weeks, Syrian forces have waged a series of heavy offensives against the main strongholds of the opposition – Homs in central Syria, Idlib in the north and Daraa in the south. In the assaults, the regime has seemed to depend on select units and has relied heavily on the minority Alawite sect, to which Assad and the ruling elite belong. That may be out of worries over signs that some Sunni army conscripts have refused to fire on civilians.


Sunnis are the majority in the country of 22 million and make up the backbone of the opposition.


AP contributed to this report





פרסום ראשון: 03.17.12, 08:54
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