News / Middle East

    At Least 5 Killed, Over 30 Injured in Damascus Bomb Blast

    A crowd gathers in front of damaged buildings after a car bomb exploded at Daf al-Shok district, in Damascus, Syria, October 26, 2012, in this photograph released by Syria's national news agency SANA.
    A crowd gathers in front of damaged buildings after a car bomb exploded at Daf al-Shok district, in Damascus, Syria, October 26, 2012, in this photograph released by Syria's national news agency SANA.
    VOA News
    A car bomb exploded near a mosque and a children's playground in Damascus Friday, killing at least five people and wounding more than 30 others.  The attack shook the first day of a temporary holiday truce between government forces and rebels.

    Opposition activists and Syrian news agencies report the bomb went off in the Daf Shawk neighborhood in the late afternoon.

    The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says children were among those wounded when the booby-trapped car exploded.

    State television blamed the bombings on "terrorists" - the government's term for the armed opposition fighting to unseat the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

    Also, the French news agency reported that 11 Syrian soldiers were wounded in a separate car-bomb attack in the southern city of Daraa.

    Truce breaks down

    The bombings followed an initial lull in fighting early Friday. In the flashpoint city of Homs, government forces shelled at least three districts.

    Friday marked the first day of a four-day cease-fire between government forces and rebels observing the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.
     
    Witnesses reported that government forces shelled a mosque in the Damascus suburb of Harasta, which has been pounded heavily in recent days. Several people were reported to have been killed or wounded as they attended holiday prayer services.

    Amateur video showed government warplanes flying over parts of Damascus and some suburbs. But residents of the northern commercial city of Aleppo told Arab satellite channels that cloudy weather prevented government planes from bombing that city.

    Opposition activists said the cease-fire also broke down around a besieged government base near the strategic town of Maarat Al Numan. The base has been surrounded by rebel fighters for days.

    There was no government comment.

    But Rami Abd al-Rahman of the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that clashes have been continuing in the area of the military base since daybreak. He said that government shelling has also forced families to flee one town near Homs.

    Syrian state television showed Assad attending morning prayers at a Damascus mosque, surrounded by his ministers. Assad appeared to be smiling and was shown shaking hands with supporters afterwards.

    The state report accused rebel forces of violating the cease-fire, but did not offer specifics. A state TV commentator said that the rebels “have no centralized leadership” and “can't agree on anything.”

    Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (C) chats with people after prayers for Eid al-Adha at al-Afram Mosque, Damascus, Syria, October 26, 2012.
    Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (C) chats with people after prayers for Eid al-Adha at al-Afram Mosque, Damascus, Syria, October 26, 2012.
    Cease-fire "Tenuous" from the Start

    Hilal Khashan, who teaches political science at the American University of Beirut, said the cease-fire brokered by United Nations-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has little chance of succeeding, since it has no enforcement mechanism:

    "It doesn't really matter who is violating the cease-fire," he said. "The cease-fire is tenuous, because it lacks a mechanism for implementation.

    "Lakhdar Brahimi said that the two sides would observe it and regulate it and control it on their own," he said. "From the beginning, the statement was weak.”

    Edward Yeranian in Cairo contributed to this report.


    • A crowd gathers in front of damaged buildings after a car bomb exploded at Daf al-Shok district, in Damascus, Syria, October 26, 2012, in this photograph released by Syria's national news agency SANA.
    • A crowd gathers in front of damaged buildings after a car bomb exploded at Daf al-Shok district, in Damascus, Syria, October 26, 2012, in this photograph released by Syria's national news agency SANA.
    • Demonstrators hold opposition flags during a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, after Eid al-Adha prayers, Dara, Syria, October 26, 2012.
    • Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (C) chats with people after prayers for Eid al-Adha at al-Afram Mosque, Damascus, Syria, October 26, 2012.
    • Members of the Free Syrian Army watch for snipers during fighting against pro-government forces in Harem, Idlib, Syria, October 25, 2012.
    • Smoke is seen after pro-government forces shelled the outskirts of Atareb, in Idlib governorate, Syria, October 24, 2012.
    • A member of the Free Syrian Army stands guard during a shelling by pro-government forces on the outskirts of Atareb, in Idlib governorate, Syria, October 24, 2012.
    • A Free Syrian Army fighter smokes a cigarette as he guards his position in Aleppo, Syria, October 23, 2012.
    • Residents are seen near damaged buildings at Marat al-Numan, near the northern province of Idlib, Syria, October 23, 2012.
    • Children play on swings in Aleppo, Syria, October 23, 2012.
    • Turkish boys look through a shattered window after an anti-aircraft shell fired from Syria hit a health center across the border in Reyhanli, Hatay province, Turkey, October 23, 2012.
    • A building that anti-government sources said was destroyed by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces is seen in Saqba, Damascus, Syria, October 22, 2012.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Anonymous
    October 26, 2012 10:06 PM
    It must be awkward for Assad to try and rule a country that everyone in that country hates you. It must be pretty bad when you can't even walk around in your own country in fear. What good is a leader that cannot walk around in public? What good is a leader that kills his own people? What good is a leader that doesn't think about the people? What good is a leader that is building more and more hatred day by day, minute by minute. What good is it when you kill a bunch of children, women, men, and elderly? What good is it when you try and force people to like you? What good is it when you can't look your people in the eye? What good is it when you degrade your own population by calling them terrorists? What good is it when you are destroying so many lives?

    What good is it to look in the mirror when you've conducted yourself like this?

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