Site of previous attack in Damascus (archives)
Photo: AP
Report: 1 killed in blast near Iran embassy in Damascus
Arab news networks say terror cell detonated car bomb near Iranian embassy in Merjeh district; rights group reports three intelligence officers killed in blast in Barzeh neighborhood
One person was killed Tuesday in an explosion near the Iranian embassy in Damascus' Merjah district, Arab news networks Al Arabiya and Al Jazeera reported.


Iran's Fars news agency reported that the blast occurred outside Iran's culture center building, but claimed the complex did not sustain any damage.


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Meanwhile, Syrian TV reported that a car bomb wounded at least three people near a mosque in the capital's Barzeh neighborhood. The pro-government channel blamed an "armed terror cell" for the blast. 


The channel said the explosion also damaged buildings in the area.


According to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, three Syrian intelligence officers were killed in the blast.


אלימות חרף הפסקת האש. פקחי או"ם בחומס (צילום: EPA)

UN monitors in Homs (Photo: EPA)


The 13-month-old Syria conflict has grown more militarized. Rebels seeking to topple President Bashar Assad have ramped up attacks on military targets and security officers.


The UN says more than 9,000 people have been killed since the conflict began, most of them civilians.


The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 55 people were killed on Monday alone, most of them in a Hama neighborhood following a visit by a UN monitoring team.


The United States expressed "concern" that civilian areas of Syria are seeing continued fighting even as UN ceasefire observers are deployed in the country.


"We expect monitors to have full freedom of movement, full access to Syrians and parts of Syria that they think are important to monitor, and we expect them to have complete freedom to communicate, to choose their personnel," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters Monday.


Nuland said the United States was worried that President Assad's forces would stop mortar attacks while the monitors were present only to resume the artillery barrages as soon as they departed.


"It's a matter of concern and it's something we'll be watching day on day," she said.


The first contingent of 30 UN observers has arrived in Syria ahead of the full deployment of 300 ceasefire monitors, which will begin next week, after a UN Security Council resolution authorized their mission.


"This first deployment of monitors is really a litmus test" for the Assad regime's "seriousness" in continuing with the ceasefire, Nuland said.


AP, Reuters, AFP contributed to the report


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First published: 24.04.12, 11:41
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