News / Middle East

16 Killed in Damascus Car Bombing

A damaged area is pictured after a car bomb in Qatana, near Damascus December 13, 2012 in this handout photograph released by Syria's national news agency SANA.
A damaged area is pictured after a car bomb in Qatana, near Damascus December 13, 2012 in this handout photograph released by Syria's national news agency SANA.
VOA News
A car bomb has killed 16 people in a suburb outside the Syrian capital, Damascus, while a senior Russian diplomat says Syria's opposition may win in its battle against President Bashar al-Assad.

The bombing Thursday in Qatana comes a day after an explosion targeting the main entrance of Syria's interior ministry in Damascus killed five people.

In Moscow, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov acknowledged for the first time that Assad is increasingly losing control of the country's territory, and that an opposition victory cannot be ruled out.

Quoted by Russian media, he also accused Western nations of distorting Russia's position on Syria in order to weaken its influence in the Middle East.

Moscow opposes Western demands to impose regime change on the Syrian president, a longtime Russian ally.

On Wednesday, a senior U.S. official said the Syrian government recently fired Scud missiles at insurgents.  There was no indication as to whether the missiles carried chemical weapons.  

The use of Scud missiles could be seen as an escalation of the nearly two-year conflict in Syria.

Meanwhile, a group of more than 100 nations calling for Assad to step down formally recognized a newly formed opposition coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.

The director of the Brookings Doha Center, Salman Shaikh, told VOA from Morocco that the new coalition's leadership was "satisfied" with the outcome of the so-called Friends of Syria meeting.

"It's safe to say this is the most significant Friends [of Syria] meeting there's been.  In fact, it's probably the first significant Friends [of Syria] meeting there has been," Shaikh said.

He said various countries taking part pledged $143 million in aid for the Syrian opposition, including a $100-million aid package from Saudi Arabia.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns said in Morocco the sooner the Syrian president "steps aside, the better for all Syrians."

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by: Nikos Retsos from: Chicago
December 13, 2012 9:20 AM
Russia finally has written off Bashar Assad, just about as bankers write off bad loans as a loss. I have predicted in other writings and in my blog at the Telegraph that Russian policy in Syria was quite foolish, and now Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov - who had boasted "The Syrian rebels cannot defeat the Syrian army" - might have to eat some crow. I don't know where Assad will be headed for exile, but I am certain of two things: a) Assassins will be hot on his trail to do justice for all the killing done under his orders, and b) The International Crominal Court's (ITC) investigators will start ammassing "war crimes" evidence against him, and an arrest warrant is certain to come later.

I am sure Assad thinks that packing and leaving will end his current predicament. But his real nightmares will begin when he starts life on the run in exile! Nikos Retsos, retired professor

In Response

by: Anonymous
December 14, 2012 6:48 AM
Absolutely, well said.


by: Anonymous
December 13, 2012 8:48 AM
Rebels kill innocent people , US and its allies support them.Noone knows what terrorism means based on US terminology.
So There are two types of terrorist: Those who with US policy ; they are good terrorists . And those who are against US policy they are bad.
Now you judge, which type of terrorists the rebeles in Syria are.

In Response

by: Anonymous
December 14, 2012 7:02 AM
A terrorist is someone who terrorizes civilians. Exactly what Assad has done for the past year with his so called army/thugs. He has terrorized more than anyone in Syria. With the hundreds of thousands homeless, elderly, men, women , and children. He has not only commited the largest of crimes, he has also stained Syrian history. Not only has he destroyed a great deal of areas in Syria, he has also wiped out historical places, with historical values. Places that were sacred as well as a part of Syrian History. We all know that most of the 50,000 or more people killed, majority were civilians. We have also seen the videos showing Assad dropping bombs and using tanks to take out entire neighborhoods by indiscriminately shelling. We also know that thousands of Syrians are missing and are expected to be in Jails and being mistreated there. People of all ages are being held in prisons. Many families have hope they may find them alive still.

What Assad has shown us is the very little he values human life, and the people / country of Syria, to the point that disgusts the world. He is doing no different than his daddy did years ago, he has killed actually more innocent people than his father.

Easy to power, easy to go... A country isn't much of a country without the backing of the people. More and more defectors and civilians are taking to arms to go against Assad. The people want a safe quiet place to live in Peace. Every day there is more and more enemies of Assad than there is friends. He is all by himself now as everyone under him has been jumping ship and is defecting. It's not going to be long now at all. This war will be over once Assad is detained and held accountable.

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