Reports: 2 blasts rock Damascus (YNetNews.Com -Yedioth Internet) Roi Kais Published: 03.17.12, 08:54)
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Syrian television says ´terrorist explosions´ hit aviation
intelligence department, criminal security department; many security
forces, civilians dead
Two "terrorist explosions" struck security targets in the Syrian
capital Saturday morning, killing a large number of civilians and
security forces, 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.
However, conflicting reports came pouring in as eyewitnesses told the
BBC they saw smoke billowing above the headquarters of the Baath
Video from a blast at an intelligence center showed the front of the
building blown away, with numerous burnt out cars littering the
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 (Copyright
2012 © Yedioth Internet 03/17/12)
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