Blasts rock Syrian city of Aleppo

2012-02-10 11:01

Damascus - Explosions rocked Syria's second city of Aleppo as tanks entered the protest hub of Homs on Friday, activists said, ahead of planned protests to denounce Russia's steadfast backing of the regime.

Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said there were three blasts, one of them near a military intelligence building in the northern city.

State television said two explosions had taken place and reported a number of casualties, including soldiers. It blamed the attack on "armed terrorist gangs".

Protests have been largely muted so far in Aleppo, a main commercial hub.

In central Syria, tanks stormed a district in the flashpoint city of Homs as troops launched a house-to-house sweep of the area to crush opponents of President Bashar Assad, said Abdel Rahman.

"The tanks entered the neighbourhood of Inshaat overnight," he said, adding troops were still deploying.

Nationwide protests

Inshaat is next to the protest hub of Baba Amr in Homs, which has been subjected to a withering assault by regime forces since Saturday that has killed more than 400 people, activists say.

The violence escalated ahead of planned nationwide protests to denounce Russia's steadfast support of the Assad regime.

"Russia is killing our children. Its planes, tanks and veto are also killing our children," said a banner on the Facebook page of The Syrian Revolution 2011.

Moscow, a staunch ally of Assad along with China, has stood in the way of repeated attempts at the United Nations to adopt a resolution condemning the bloodshed in Syria.

Rights groups estimate more than 6 000 people have died in a fierce government crackdown to put down a revolt that erupted nearly a year ago.

US President Barack Obama decried the violence as "outrageous bloodshed", in comments after White House talks with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti.

80 killed in a day

He urged "a transition from the current government that has been assaulting its people".

Troops trying to crush opponents of Assad have killed at least 400 people in a six-day onslaught on Homs city, opposition activists say.

More than 80 people were killed across Syria on Thursday alone, all but 30 of them in Homs.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said Assad's regime appeared determined to kill its own people.

"It's quite clear that this is a regime that is hell-bent on killing, murdering and maiming its own citizens," Cameron told reporters in Stockholm. "It really is appalling, the scenes of destruction in Homs."

He called for "transition and change in Syria".


Despite mounting calls for military aid to outgunned and outnumbered rebel troops in Syria, Foreign Secretary William Hague stressed Britain has no such plans.

But Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the international community cannot afford to watch the "massacre" taking place in Syria without acting.

"We cannot let Syrian people die every day and the international community will follow blindly," Davutoglu said in Washington.

Germany meanwhile backed a proposed joint Arab League-UN mission to monitor the situation in Syria, but other major powers were more cautious.

Prospects for the mission that the pan-Arab bloc's chief has proposed to UN leader Ban Ki-moon could depend on an Arab League foreign ministers' meeting this weekend and the backing of the major powers.

As the international community struggles to find a new diplomatic response to Assad's assault on protest cities, Germany's Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle gave the strongest welcome to the Arab League-UN proposal.

Peace and balance

"In addition to the establishment of a contact group of 'friends of a democratic Syria' we must also undertake a new attempt to resolve the crisis through the United Nations," Westerwelle said in Berlin.

He said a joint Arab League-UN observer mission and the naming of a UN special representative on the Syria conflict "would serve peace and balance. And both would be a clear signal by the international community to the Assad regime".

EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said Russia must confront "the reality" of the deadly crackdown in Syria, after Moscow vetoed a UN resolution condemning the violence.

"My message to my Russian colleagues is they too need to recognise the reality of the situation on the ground" in Syria, said Ashton, who was making a two-day visit to Mexico.

Moscow has insisted that any solution to end nearly one year of bloodshed must come from within Syria.

  • nowicki1 - 2012-02-10 11:53

      Fred - 2012-02-10 14:15

      Still trying to convince everyone that this is really a media manipulation, not Syrians standing up against the cruel tyrant Bashar Assad and his violent cronies? Still smooshing the Syrian people's defensive actions together with the vile behavior of this evil regime?

  • BA - 2012-02-10 13:08

    The world is so hypocritical and two-faced. You get more comments on a story about an Israeli farting downwind of a palestinian then you do on this story. Where are all the anti-US commentators - what do they have to say about Russia and China? Bunch of hypocrits.

      Fidel - 2012-02-10 14:30

      Congratulations to Russia and China. I hope they will continue their good work and prevent another "No-Fly Zone" resolution turned into a "Bombing-zone" resolution as in the case of Libya where tens of thousands of people have been killed as a result of the No-Fly zone resolution.

      Jaba - 2012-02-10 14:53

      BA They detest Israel more than they care for their own brothers & sisters being murdered day in, day out in Syria. Their hate is transmissible from generation to generation... it’s an illness... but such is life in the Arab world.

      Fred - 2012-02-11 09:43

      Fidel your understanding is again faulty. The No-Fly Zone declawed madman Gaddafi and protected tens if thousands, probably hundreds of thousands of Libyans. There was no doubting Gaddafi's intentions when he anted from his broken balcony that he would kill anyone and everyone who opposed him, the singular and unelected, self-proclaimed leader of Libya. It's incredible but now predictable that you edit these facts from your perspective and commentaries. For this reason your views are almost totally irrelevant and obviously wrong. It's easy to see.

  • nowicki1 - 2012-02-10 17:21

    "such is life in the Arab world." this is the ignorance we dealing with. of course they detest Israel as do many Jews and Rabbi's. For a good reason. @BA you are incorrect, as stated in the story these blasts targeted government buildings, probably killing many civilians. Hmm what do Americans call people who do this.. hmm I'm trying to think, oh thats right terrorists. ohh but they attacking Syria so lets call them the.. Free Syrian Army, yeah that sounds good ! lol

      Fred - 2012-02-11 09:50

      You're part of this crazy, logical, wrong-thinking, small group of people on this site that cobble together an almost totally nonsensical and wrong understanding of reality. Many Jews and Rabbis hate Israel? Yeah right. And you totally fail to differentiate between an evil-doing tyrant and human beings defending themselves against that tyrant who has been systematically killing them for eleven months now. That you think this is worthy of your support, albeit indirectly, is almost beyond belief for a human being with a human heart. Incredible.

      nowicki1 - 2012-02-11 16:04

      And your just plain dumb, look on google before "yea right" ing making yourself seem even more dumb. (Israel is a Zionist state). Do you even know what Zionism is? The Irony is that I probably care a lot more for my fellow humans than you do, that is why I research into these topics a little deeper than you do. You again claim that I support Assad, as I have said many times I do not support Assad. But your mind tends to see things in either black or white, right or left, this or that, etc etc. Typical.

  • pages:
  • 1