Damascus car bomb kills 12

2012-08-28 19:56
Aleppo, Syria. (Khalil Hamra, AP/File)

Aleppo, Syria. (Khalil Hamra, AP/File)

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Damascus - A car bomb killed 12 people at a funeral in the mainly Druze and Christian suburb of Jaramana on the southeastern outskirts of the Syrian capital on Tuesday, state television reported.

"Another 48 people were wounded, many critically, in a terrorist car blast that targeted a funeral procession in Jaramana," it said.

"At around 15:00 (12:00 GMT), a funeral procession was making its way to the cemetery, when a car parked on the side of the road exploded, killing and injuring many people," an army official told AFP.

The funeral was held for two supporters of the government of President Bashar Assad who were killed in a bomb attack on Monday, the Britain-based Observatory said.

The force of the blast completely destroyed the facade of one building, while others suffered heavy damage, an AFP photographer reported.

State media blamed rebel fighters for the bombing, which came amid an intensified bombardment by government troops of eastern districts of Damascus that shelter some of the Free Syrian Army's best organised battalions.

But the opposition Syrian National Council accused Assad's regime of staging the bombing against its own supporters in a bid to divert attention from the killings of hundreds of people during an army assault last week on a largely Sunni Muslim suburb of the capital.

"The regime wants to cover up for its massacres," SNC spokesperson George Sabra said, alluding to the deaths in the town of Daraya that sparked an international outcry.

"It also wants to punish residents of Jaramana - who are of mixed religious backgrounds - for welcoming people who were displaced from nearby towns." Sabra told AFP by telephone

"The regime's fingerprints are clear," charged Sabra, himself a Christian. "The regime does not want anyone to welcome refugees from other cities. And it wants to turn the revolution... into a bloody civil war fought along sectarian lines."

Around 80% of Syrians are Sunni Muslim, while around 10% belong to Assad's Alawite community, five percent are Christian, three percent Druze and one percent Ismaili.

The opposition draws much of its support from the Sunni majority, who have borne the brunt of the government's deadly crackdown.

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