Car bomb kills scores in Syria capital

2013-02-21 15:01

Damascus - A powerful car bomb exploded near the ruling Baath party headquarters in the Syrian capital on Thursday, killing at least 31 people, wounding dozens and leaving a trail of destruction, a watchdog said.

Images of charred bodies lying next to mangled vehicles were broadcast by Al-Ekhbariya state television, which said children were among those wounded as the blast occurred near a school in the central Damascus district of Mazraa.

"At least 31 people were killed and dozens wounded, the majority civilians," said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, while the state news agency SANA reported 16 killed and 200 hurt in what it said was a suicide bombing.

Shortly after the mid-morning blast, two mortars were fired at a military headquarters in Damascus, Al-Ekhbariya and the Observatory both reported, without giving information on casualties.

The car bomb exploded at the 16 November Square near the Al-Iman mosque, next to the head offices of the Baath party, which has been in power for half a century.

Buildings were shattered by the blast, which sent thick black smoke billowing across the capital's skyline and all roads in the area were quickly sealed off, an AFP correspondent said.

'Is that the freedom you want?'

Ambulances sirens rang out, and machinegun fire was also heard in the area, as firemen rushed to the scene to douse the flames.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which left a large crater in a major road, according to pictures released by the SANA state news agency.

"It is terrorism... Is that what you call Islam?" one of the wounded told Syrian television.

"Is that the freedom you want? Is that the [rebel] Free Syrian Army?" said another man, speaking at the site of the attack.

The windows of the Russian embassy were blown out by the blast, but none of its staff were hurt, Russian news agencies reported.

Moscow is one of the few big powers to keep ties with the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad amid the conflict with rebels and retains a diplomatic presence in the Syrian capital.

Numerous deadly attacks

According to the Observatory, which relies on a network of sources on the ground for its information, two other car bombs exploded next to security posts in the Barzeh district of north Damascus.

The General Staff building that came under mortar fire on Thursday lies next to the heavily fortified Omeyyades Square, in a district housing numerous government buildings. It was targeted in an attack last September that left four people dead.

There have been numerous deadly attacks on official targets in the Syrian capital in recent months, among them government, intelligence and security buildings.

The last car bombing in Damascus took place on 4 January, killing 11 people, including children.

Protests against Assad's rule broke out in March 2011 but later morphed into an insurgency after the embattled president's forces unleashed a brutal crackdown on dissent.

The United Nations says at least 70 000 people have been killed in the conflict, and puts the number of Syrians who have fled their homeland at more than 850 000.

  • fidel.uncensored - 2013-02-21 15:04

    "Is that the freedom you want? Is that the [rebel] Free Syrian Army?" said another man, speaking at the site of the attack." This is such not a terroristy thing to do!

      konrad.bosco - 2013-02-21 15:16

      Your anc did it , but now it's not okay for this lot in their fight against an undemocratic minority regime? Have the FSA claimed responsibility for it ? Do you know for sure it was not assad's lads pulling a propaganda coux , especially with the Russian embassy taking damage , perhaps pushing the Russians for more support ?

      fidel.uncensored - 2013-02-21 15:37

      My ANC, why is it my ANC? Possible but not plausible. A little Occam's razor would not go astray in your logical repertoire.

      konrad.bosco - 2013-02-21 16:12

      Your comment the other day about "knowing it/feeling it" came across as one of those anc'isty things. Regardless of whether the anc were right or wrong , bombing civilians was their tactic , as it is whoever did this crime

      fidel.uncensored - 2013-02-21 16:45

      I'm an African, obviously I felt apartheid policies. Do you think they were directed or limited to ANC supporters only. You are ignorant about your own country's history. I've made no judgement whether these tactics are right or wrong, but merely called them what they are, terrorism, using violence to achieve political means.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2013-02-21 18:43

      . I still had tears in my eyes, with your story, how you picked up a 'hot' 5 cent piece, and than I saw this article, where this 8 year old Syrian child, picked up this hand granade, which one of assad's terrorist soldiers had thrown at her, and than blew her face to pieces. Than I realized what a sick and disturbed person you are !!!!!!!

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2013-02-21 19:28

      Sadly the internet gives a voice, to the ones , NOBODY agrees with, but nevertheless want to shove their HATRED down ones throat!!!!

      fidel.uncensored - 2013-02-21 19:41

      All children think their opinion is the only one that matters but one day you grow up and realise there is room for other opinions than your own. But in your case, the infant obviously has a lot of growing up to do. What an insecure man child!

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2013-02-21 19:59

      . ""All children think their opinion is the only one"" Possible but not plausible. A little Occam's razor would not go astray in your logical repetoire.

      fidel.uncensored - 2013-02-22 06:22

      Let me for once try and entertain your argument (perhaps there's a little voice that's crying out to be heard there), so do tell me how is it implausible for "All children think their opinion is the only one". What does a razor has do to with this logical conclusion? It's always good to argue from a position of misguided knobheadedness.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2013-02-22 06:47

      . No, sorry Fidel,if you want to be entertained, you will have to go to your book club. Maybe start off with your 'hot 5 cents' story, to get everybody in the mood, and than tell them that 95 % of the population is dumb, stupid and ignorant and has to be re-educated!!!!! Than when you get back home, hopefully there is another story about Israel and/or Iran, so you can let go, and rid yourself of some more frustrations, and boom, there is another day wasted !!!!!!!111

      fidel.uncensored - 2013-02-22 06:55

      "entertain your argument" Do you enjoy being stupid, you flash your idiocy with great verve, I salute you and commiserate with those unfortunates whom you call family.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2013-02-22 07:48

      . Ahhhhhhhhhh, do I sense a bit of jealousy here.........together with a large portion of racism????????????????????????????

      fidel.uncensored - 2013-02-22 07:57

      Now put that in your pipe and suck......hard!

  • konrad.bosco - 2013-02-21 15:34

    Assad should just go now , let the bloodshed end ,why not just stuff off to iran

      fidel.uncensored - 2013-02-21 15:50

      Is there a justification in fighting back when you do represent a portion of the population (which Assad no doubt does). This conflict hasn't merely been protesters vs a tyrannical regime for a very long time.

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