News / Middle East

Syria Says 44 Killed in Twin Bombings

Syria Says 44 Killed in Twin Bombings
Syria Says 44 Killed in Twin Bombings

Syrian officials say twin suicide bombings in Damascus have killed at least 44 people and left at least 150 others injured.

State television reports that two bombers used vehicles packed with explosives to attack a pair of state security facilities in the capital on Friday.

The state-run SANA news agency displayed graphic photos that it said showed victims of what it called "terrorist attacks."  The news agency also said Syrians had gathered in Damascus and several other cities to protest the bombings.

Witnesses reported hearing heavy gunfire after the explosions.

Syrian officials said al-Qaida militants may be responsible for the attacks. A deputy foreign minister, Faysal Mekdad, told reporters the bombings are proof of the government's longtime claims that terrorists are behind much of the violence linked to opposition protests.

"All who stand behind these criminals in Syria and defend and support these crimes are considered responsible for the terrorist acts," he said.

The bombings have come on the heels of the arrival of an Arab League advance delegation that is setting up an observer mission in Syria. News reports say some delegation members visited the bombing sites.

Syrian opposition groups called for mass protests on Friday against the Arab League observers, who intend to monitor whether the government follows through on its promise to stop the crackdown on dissent.

Opposition groups say the government is only allowing the monitors as a stalling tactic to prevent a new round of international sanctions against Syria for its crackdown on dissent.

Also, activists said security forces killed at least 14 more protesters across Syria on Friday.

Meanwhile, the U.S. condemned Friday's bombings and said Syria must not allow the attacks to hamper the Arab League's monitoring mission. Lebanon also condemned the blasts.

The Syrian government has defended its harsh crackdown on pro-democracy protesters by saying it is fighting "armed terrorists," though Friday's bombings appear to be the first of their kind since the anti-government uprising began in March.

The advance team of Arab League observers that arrived Thursday is laying the groundwork for a larger group of delegates that is set to arrive Monday.

The Arab League has also been urging Syria to withdraw its security forces from neighborhoods and begin talks with the opposition.

On Thursday, Syria said more than 2,000 security force members had been killed since the uprising began. The United Nations says at least 5,000 people have been killed.

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

Join the conversation on our social journalism site - Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid