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Blast Rips Through Syrian Capital

  • VOA News

A car bomb exploded Sunday in central Damascus, killing 13 people in the Syrian capital as U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi pressed President Bashar al-Assad to institute a cease-fire later this week.

The explosion near a police station in the predominantly Christian Bab Touma neighborhood also wounded 29 people. There has been no claim of responsibility for the blast.

The president's meeting with Brahimi was held behind closed doors in another part of Damascus. The international envoy has urged both the Syrian government and rebels opposed to Assad to support a cease-fire during the four-day Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, which begins Friday.

Brahimi said after the talks that he has discussed the truce plan with Syrian opposition groups, receiving "promises" but no "commitment" that they would honor the cease-fire.

Syria's state-run SANA news agency said Assad told Brahimi that Syria supports his efforts, and is open to a solution that respects the country's sovereignty.

The secretaries-general of the U.N. and the Arab League have also called for a cessation of violence during the religious period, as part of efforts to end the 19-month conflict.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put Syria's death toll at 118 on Sunday, including 53 civilians, 19 rebel fighters, 4 defected soldiers and 42 regular soldiers.

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