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Death Toll Rises in Damascus Blasts

A general view of the destruction after an explosion in central Damascus, Feb. 21, 2013.
A general view of the destruction after an explosion in central Damascus, Feb. 21, 2013.
VOA News
A Syrian expatriate rights group says a series of bombings in Damascus has killed at least 83 people, including more than 60 near the headquarters of the nation's ruling Ba'ath party.  

Most of the victims are said to be civilians, including many children from a nearby school, with 17 of the dead reported to be members of the security forces.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Friday that Thursday's attacks included not only the blast at the Ba'ath party headquarters but another three car bombings that killed 22 people in the northern district of Barzeh, home to the nation's security headquarters.  Most of the dead were soldiers.

The attacks, which also left hundreds wounded, resulted in one of the bloodiest days in the Syrian capital in nearly two years.

Central Damascus has been relatively insulated from the nearly two years of violence in Syria.

Syrian state media called the central Damascus blast a "terrorist bombing" that struck a densely populated area near the al-Mazraa neighborhood.  TV footage showed bloodied and charred bodies lying in the street.  

Meanwhile, the Syrian opposition met Thursday in Cairo to discuss whether to possibly hold peace talks with President Bashar al-Assad's government.  

The opposition has offered to talk with government officials who have "no blood on their hands."  The Assad government has said it is ready to negotiate with the opposition, but without pre-conditions.

In New York, the United Nations and the Arab League have extended the mission of their joint envoy to Syria through the end of the year.  U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky announced that Lakhdar Brahimi's contract has been renewed through the rest of 2013.  It had been set to expire Friday.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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Comment Sorting
by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
February 22, 2013 1:13 PM
Another terrible dastardly terrorist attack against Syria's civilians, this time the victimes are probably mainly Shia civilians. As this conflict progresses, the victimes will shift from mainly Sunni to mainly Shia civilians. The world needs to continue to condem such dastardly massacres of civilians. Assad and his chronies need to step out of Syria; a cease fire, and an orderly transition of power needs to take place; with all foreign fighters departing from Syria, all large weapons need to be destroyed.
In Response

by: john from: usa
March 04, 2013 8:45 AM
The strange thing is that the US, who is deeply committed against terrorism, refused to condemn this Damascus terror bombing, at the UN Security Council.

This is what Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister said.

The Syrian authorities claim that the terrorist attack was launched by a group that’s involved with al-Qaeda, not surprising since the USA has listed the rebel AlNusra front as a terrorist group.

The rebels have radical islamists who don't see a problem using suicide bombing in war.

The same alqaeda that blow themselves up in other parts of the world, which the US is fighting in Afghanistan is unfortunately being supported by the US in Syria along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

We hear how Assad is the bad guy, killing his own people(which is the reason justifying foreign intervention), yet it was the rebels, not Assad who were responsible for killing all these innocent people in this horrific bombing in a populated city like Damascus.

Not surprisingly, this suicide bombing is just one of many by the rebel forces in Syria.

John Kerry has just announced 60 million dollars to aid the rebels. We can expect more suicide bombers killing even more innocent civilians as a result instead of having peace through political dialogue.

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