News

Multiple Blasts Rock Northern Syrian Town

Syrian activists say a double bomb attack near security buildings in the northwestern town of Idlib has killed at least 20 people, as a bombing campaign against Syrian government targets intensifies.

A separate grenade attack Monday struck the Syrian Central Bank in Damascus, wounding four security officers.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the attack in Idlib targeted intelligence offices used by the Syrian army and air force. Syria's state news agency said suicide bombers triggered the blasts and it gave a lower death toll of at least nine, with another 100 people wounded, including security personnel and civilians.

Casualties could not be independently confirmed.

Syrian state television broadcast the aftermath of the Idlib attack, showing smashed cars, damaged buildings and mangled bodies.

Syrian state television blamed what it called “terrorists” for Monday's attack, and state-run media gave a lower death toll of at least nine with another 100 people wounded, including security personnel and civilians. Casualties could not be independently confirmed.

Speaking to Alhurra TV, General Mustafa al-Sheikh, a senior member of the opposition Free Syrian Army, alleged the Syrian government itself was behind Monday's blasts, as well as a Friday bombing in Damascus.

"The explosions are clearly the work of the Syrian government, because the government is trying to convince the West that it is fighting against terrorism," he said. "The government wants to convince U.N. observers that it is impossible to withdraw troops from urban areas or allow demonstrations because it is facing terrorists and al-Qaida."

Syrian TV reported that members of the U.N. observer team visited the Idlib blast sites. Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said the head of the observer team was “being briefed on armed violations” of the 18-day old U.N. cease-fire.

The Syrian government and rebels accepted a U.N.-backed truce agreement, part of a peace plan mediated by international envoy Kofi Annan, that took effect on April 12. But forces loyal to Assad have continued assaulting opposition hubs while rebel fighters have repeatedly ambushed government security personnel. Each side accuses the other of provoking attacks.

Middle East scholar Fouad Ajami of the Hoover Institution said recent U.N. diplomacy and a cease-fire brokered by special envoy Kofi Annan appear to be working in favor of Syria's government.

"I think [Syrian President Assad] has had a good fortnight. He believes that diplomacy has made this revolution, this rebellion, a murky affair," said Ajami. "I think he believes that the moral clarity of this rebellion has been lost, and he believes that [world] powers will not come to the rescue."

But, Ajami added, it is impossible to determine who is winning the conflict.

"The basics have not really changed," he said. "The regime is running out of money, the regime is running out of resources; it's betting that the rebellion would be running out of stamina. And the great standoff still persists."

Syrian state media also reported grenade attacks Monday on the Syrian Central Bank and a police patrol in Damascus. It said four officers were wounded and the bank sustained light damage.

Elsewhere, Lebanese security officials said several skiers were fired on from the Syrian side of the mountainous border. One Lebanese skier was wounded. Syrian troops previously have fired across the border on suspicion of rebel activity.

The U.N. estimates that at least 9,000 people have been killed since Assad began cracking down on the uprising in March 2011.

 

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


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.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: AbuAbdAllah_Muhammad_IbnMusa
May 01, 2012 4:11 AM
That's it, give them more false hope, the stupid believers that they are.

by: Spongebob
April 30, 2012 7:05 AM
I can understand how terrorist bombings, suprise ambushes, and assasination of officials might provoke the military into further action. But can someone explain what provoke this type of "terrorist" activity? Perhaps once we understand this we might also understand what caused 9-11 a bit better ...

by: Syrian
April 30, 2012 6:47 AM
All these blasts are done by the Syrian government to justify suppressing its own people

by: Terrorist Hunter
April 30, 2012 6:03 AM
There is no doubt that it is the tactic of terrorists. They may have been trained by Nato special forces operating inside Syria.

by: Marry
April 30, 2012 2:46 AM
As long as the Syrian army maintains it is cohesion and supported by their friends Russia and China and the thugs have no real power on the ground NATO for sure will not intervene in Syria

by: Christ
April 30, 2012 2:43 AM
Prince of Qatar and the president of Tunisia were very sure that the prospect of success of the peace plan is 3%. I would like to add it is 0% as long as they keep sending weapons from Libya to the criminals in Syria through Lebanon . Media must be unbiased and stop saying forces loyal to Assad it is the Syrian army whether you like it or not .

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs