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.

You May Like

Video Video Claims to Show Shi'ite Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes More

This forum has been closed.
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?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More