News / Middle East

    Scores Killed as Car Bombs Strike Syria

    Photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian men carry a dead body at the scene where triple bombs exploded at the Saadallah al-Jabri square, in Aleppo, Syria, October 3, 2012.
    Photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian men carry a dead body at the scene where triple bombs exploded at the Saadallah al-Jabri square, in Aleppo, Syria, October 3, 2012.
    VOA News
    Four coordinated explosions on Wednesday ripped through a government-controlled section of Syria's largest city, Aleppo, killing dozens of people and wounding nearly 100 others. The blasts gutted a military officers' club and a nearby hotel.

    Opposition groups say at least 48 people died, mostly from the security services, while Syrian state media put the death toll at 31.

    Meanwhile, a mortar shell fired from Syria hit the southeastern Turkish border town of Akcakale. Turkish media say five people, including a mother and her three children, were killed when the shell landed in a residential area. At least nine others were seriously wounded.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu phoned U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to brief him about the developments in Akcakale.

    • This image taken from video obtained from the Shaam News Network purports to show smoke rising from buildings following a huge explosion in Saadallah al-Jabri Square in Aleppo, Syria, October 3, 2012.
    • Debris and damaged buildings are seen after blasts in Aleppo, Syria, October 3, 2012.
    • This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA shows Syrian men walking between destroyed buildings where bombs exploded in Saadallah al-Jabri square, in Aleppo, Syria, October 3, 2012.
    • This photo by the Syrian official news agency SANA shows Syrian men carrying a body after bombs bombs exploded in Saadallah al-Jabri square, in Aleppo, Syria, October 3, 2012.
    • This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA shows Syrian security officers in front of destroyed buildings where bombs exploded in Saadallah al-Jabri square, in Aleppo, Syria, October 3, 2012.

    Aleppo bombings

    Earlier in Aleppo, Syrian government forces fired into the air after the blasts as plumes of black smoke rose over the city's usually bustling Saadallah al-Jabri Square. Government-run television showed a large crater where it said one of three car bombs went off.

    Clusters of young men picked through the rubble. Chunks of concrete, glass and twisted metal were thrown onto the pavement. Bulldozers worked to clear the debris.

    Rami Abd al-Rahman of the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, says that the string of car bombs targeted government forces. He said violence by the government is provoking counter-violence by the rebels.

    Syrian government media blamed what they called “terrorists” for the blasts. Parliament Speaker Mohammed Jihad Laham said that Syria's cultural and economic infrastructure is being destroyed.

    Laham said that Aleppo, the capital of Islamic culture and of manufacturing, has fallen victim to an odious crime and disgusting terrorist explosions that have struck innocent people.

    Some of Syria's deadliest bombings


    • December 2011: Suicide bombings kill 44 people outside a Damascus intelligence compound
    • January 2012: A suicide blast kills 25 people, many of them police, at a Damascus intersection
    • February 2012: Twin explosions in Aleppo kill 28 people
    • March 2012: Car bombs kill 27 people near intelligence and security buildings in Damascus
    • May 2012: Twin bombings in Damascus kill 55 people
    • October 2012: Car bombs in Aleppo kill at least 40 people
    'Destructive confrontation'

    Analyst Peter Harling of the International Crisis Group says that both sides have been engaged in what he calls an “extremely destructive confrontation” in recent weeks, but without making any “tangible gains.”

    Harling does, however, see a glimmer of hope, as some reports indicate possible talks between the government and opposition factions.  

    “We're in a phase of confusion and reconfiguration with some willingness among the more pragmatic players to see whether a return to politics is possible, although they're not quite sure how to go about it,” he said.

    The joint United Nations-Arab League envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, is set to return to the region next week as he tries to revive efforts to end the 18-month conflict.

    Heavy government shelling was also reported in the region of Homs, the outer suburbs of Damascus, parts of Deraa, and Deir Ezzor.

    Refugees suffering

    Inside Syria, VOA's Scott Bobb traveled on Wednesday to the Bab al-Salama camp for internally displaced persons, located a few kilometers from the Turkish town of Killis.  He said about 6,000 Syrians have fled to the camp in the last month.

    "This upsurge occurred about a month ago when the bombing intensified by the Syrian air force on basically defenseless towns and civilians in northern Syria," he said. "People [were] just panicked and traumatized and decided to get out."

    Bobb said the mostly Sunni civilians initially fled to Turkey, but large numbers are now forced to wait at Bab al-Salama until space becomes available in the Turkish refugee camps.

    As Turkish officials let in hundreds of people each day, more arrive from deeper inside Syria, Bobb said.

    "So it's a constant influx of hundreds, maybe up to a thousand a day at this one point," he said. "Multiply that by half a dozen or more crossing points in northern Syria and you can see why the United Nations is calling it a major catastrophe in waiting."

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Ismail Aljazaeri
    October 03, 2012 5:06 PM
    Well done America, keep supporting terror until they hit you again. Obviousely US governement dont learn from past experiences.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora