At least 55 killed in twin Damascus blasts
Published Thursday, May 10, 2012
More than 55 people were killed and 372 wounded in two powerful blasts that rocked the Syrian capital during morning rush hour on Thursday, state television reported.
The blasts took place in front of a nine-storey security building, the facade of which was destroyed along with residential buildings nearby, according to an AFP correspondent at the site.
Television footage 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.
Damascus residents said the two explosions, which happened almost simultaneously shortly before 8am, struck a district of Damascus which houses a military intelligence complex involved in President Bashar Assad's crackdown on 14 months of protests.
Major General Robert Mood, chief of a UN observer mission in Syria, visited the site of the two powerful blasts, an AFP correspondent reported.
Mood surveyed the damage left by the explosions that took place during morning rush hour on a highway south of the capital.
"This is yet another example of the suffering brought upon the people of Syria from acts of violence," the Norwegian general said.
"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, according to a statement.
The attacks came a day after the Norwegian general escaped unharmed when a roadside bomb exploded as he led a team of UN observers into the southern flashpoint city of Deraa.
Six Syrian soldiers escorting them were reportedly hurt in Wednesday's bombing.
The blasts come despite a UN-backed ceasefire that went into effect on April 12 with the aim of ending 14 months of bloodshed in Syria.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Thursday's blasts targeted a security building.
Syria has witnessed a spate of bombings and political assassinations in recent weeks, with suspicion falling on radical armed elements or Al-Qaeda inspired Islamist groups aiming to derail the ceasefire.
Colonel Riyadh Asaad, leader of the Free Syrian Army – one of the main rebel factions – said on Wednesday his forces had withdrawn from conflict zones and adhered to the ceasefire, but warned he may resume attacks if the government does not cease its crackdown.
(Reuters, AFP, Al-Akhbar)