News / Middle East

Syria Blames 'Saboteurs' for Deadly Derailment

Syria Blames 'Saboteurs' for Deadly Derailment
Syria Blames 'Saboteurs' for Deadly Derailment

The Syrian government has blamed "saboteurs" trying to "hide behind" anti-government protests for a train derailment that killed one person and left several injured.

A state-run media report on Saturday says the incident took place near the flashpoint city of Homs.  The SANA news agency quotes an Interior Ministry official as saying "criminals" ripped up a section of tracks, causing the derailment and a fire that killed the train's driver and injured a number of passengers.  

About 480 people were on board the train which was heading from the northeastern city of Aleppo to the capital, Damascus.

Homs has been a focal point in protests against President Bashar al-Assad and the government's crackdown on dissent.

Witnesses and activists say security forces killed at least six people during mass protests against Assad on Friday, including several in Homs.  They say at least five other people were killed in Homs early Friday, after the military launched a huge crackdown on the city.

Meanwhile, two special advisers to U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon say there is a "serious possibility" that Syria has committed crimes against humanity in its crackdown on dissent.

In a statement released late Friday, the two advisers - Francis Deng and Edward Luck - called for a thorough, independent investigation of events in the country.

Rights groups say Syrian forces have killed at least 1,600 civilians during the government's crackdown on dissent, while the government has blamed much of the violence on terrorists and Islamists who it says have killed hundreds of security personnel.

It is hard to verify accounts of the violence in Syria because its government has barred foreign media from reporting and traveling freely in the country.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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