Two Bombs in Jaramana: A Very Bloody Morning

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A handout picture released by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on 28 November 2012, shows two injured Syrian men near the scene of a car bomb explosion in Jaramana (Photo: AFP - HO/SANA)

By: Marah Mashi

Published Thursday, November 29, 2012

In Jaramana, a southeastern district in the Syrian capital of Damascus, car bombs are becoming a frequent occurrence. On 28 November 2012, 20 people were killed by two bombs.

Damascus – In Syria, people now wake up to the question: “Where was the car bomb today?” The district of Jaramana has more than its fair share of these bombs. On 28 November 2012, the eighth bomb exploded in this area that is home to different sects and ethnic groups, especially Iraqis who took refuge here after the US invasion.

The first car bomb set off 10 kg of explosives at 6:15 am in the al-Mukhtar area. The second explosion took place at the al-Rais roundabout and resulted in even more casualties, doubling the total number of victims.

The strategy behind such operations is clear: The first bomb attracts crowds who rush to the aid of the victims, while the second bomb targets them.

This time the bomb was not placed in a taxi, like most car bombs. Sources told Al-Akhbar that a Mercedes military vehicle was loaded with more than 15 kg of explosives.

Even with two bombs already exploded, Jaramana’s bloody morning was not over yet. At the gates of two neighboring schools, two more bombs had been planted, killing one and wounding many. They were timed to explode at 7:30 am to coincide with the start of the school day.

Panic struck the area, which has remained immune to the clashes so far. Jaramana has not taken part in the crisis despite attempts to mobilize it. This is why it has become the target of more recriminations and explosions than any other area.

The destruction caused by the bombs is hard to comprehend. Body parts were scattered everywhere, some stuck to the walls of destroyed houses. Entire buildings have collapsed. People’s faces can only convey shock and horror.

One man was standing in front of a television news camera, tearfully explaining what had happened to him: “When I took my wife and daughter towards the street after the first explosion, I asked them to stay away while I went back to help with the rescue operations.”

Such reactions have led people to question the role of the official media in raising awareness about what to do in the event of explosions or shelling. The man spoke about how he led his wife and daughter away from the street, and how this meant that they were killed by the second, unexpected, explosion. He cried to the camera: “It’s for Bashar Assad!”

A local man came out of a destroyed building and shouted aggressively at the journalists on the scene. He tried to get rid of them, swinging his fists. His reaction could reflect the security mentality that still governs Syria. In a crisis, any ordinary person or member of a popular committee tries to exercise authority over people, interrogating them as to why they are there, not really caring who they are and that they are there to carry out their business. Here, reason seems to disappear completely, death is the only presence.

Will there be more bombs? This question is reflected in every terrified face in the area. A cautious calm descends after the deadly strikes, allowing women clad in black to enter the area to find out the fate of their relatives. Their faces betray their readiness for the worst.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

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