Twin suicide blasts hit Damascus

2013-01-18 21:00

Beirut - Two car bombs exploded in southern Syria, while a rocket slammed into a building in the north, in a spike in civil war violence on Friday that Syrian state media blamed on rebel fighters trying to topple President Bashar Assad.

The rocket attack in the northern city of Aleppo and the suicide car bombings in Daraa, south of Damascus, occurred during a particularly bloody week nearly two years after an uprising began against Assad's regime.

On Thursday, opposition activists said pro-government militia swept through a town in central Syria, torching houses and killing more than 100 people.

Both sides have been blaming each other for the recent attacks, and it was the second time in a week that the government accused rebels of firing rockets.

The state-run Sana news agency said the morning attack in Aleppo was carried out by terrorists, a term the regime uses for rebels.

But the Local Co-ordination Committees of Syria, an activist group, and the Aleppo Media Centre, a network of anti-regime activists, accused the government of launching an airstrike.

On Tuesday, 87 people were killed in twin blasts at Aleppo University.

The regime said rebels hit the university with rockets.

Rebels said the deaths resulted from regime airstrikes.

Syria's state-run TV claimed that shortly after the rocket hit the building in Aleppo, militants linked to an al-Qaeda group detonated cars filled with explosives near a mosque in Daraa as worshippers were leaving following Friday prayers.

Video broadcast on Syrian state TV showed several floors of the targeted building collapsed in a government-controlled area of Aleppo, Syria's largest urban centre and main commercial hub.

The video showed a man carrying a baby out of the damaged building and another man was seen clutching his head as blood ran down his forehead.

Residents were also seen looking for people buried in the rubble.

At least one injured person on a stretcher was seen being carried away in a Red Crescent ambulance.

Deadly stalemate

State TV reports said both attacks caused many casualties, but it was not immediately known how many people were killed or wounded in the two cities - both major fronts in the civil war.

Government troops and rebels have been locked in a deadly stalemate in Aleppo and other areas in the north since last summer.

Six months later, the rebels hold large parts of the city. Still, they have been unable to overcome the regime's far superior firepower.

With the two sides deadlocked on the northern front, rebels have increasingly targeted state security facilities and government institutions in other parts of the country, including in the capital, Damascus.

Suicide attacks have been a hallmark of the Islamic rebel units that have been fighting alongside other opposition fighters.

State TV said fighters with Jabhat al-Nusra, a group the US has declared a terrorist organisation, were behind the twin blasts in Daraa.


Daraa is the birthplace of the revolt that erupted in March 2011.

It began as peaceful protests against Assad's rule but quickly turned into a civil war after a brutal government crackdown on dissent.

More than 60 000 people have been killed in the violence, according to a recent UN's estimate.

Also on Friday, fighting between Syrian rebels and Assad's loyalists flared in a Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus, killing 12 people and wounding at least 20 others, a UN refugee agency said. Children were among the casualties, according to a statement issued by the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

The agency called on both sides to "pull back from civilian areas, including refugee camps."

The Palestinian camp called Yarmouk has been the scene of heavy clashes between rebels and regime loyalists since mid-December, when opposition fighters moved into the camp during an attempt to storm the capital.

About half of Yarmouk's 150 000 residents have fled since fighting erupted in mid-December, according to UNRWA, which administers Palestinian camps in the Middle East.

Some sought refuge in neighbouring Lebanon, and others found shelter in UNRWA schools in Damascus and other Syrian cities.

Dozens have been killed in the fighting, although the UN did not provide an exact figure of casualties in Yarmouk violence, which has included airstrikes and artillery shelling from the Syrian military.

Dozens killed

Dozens have been killed in the fighting, although the UN did not provide an exact figure of casualties in Yarmouk violence, which has included airstrikes and artillery shelling from the Syrian military.

On Syria's northern border with Turkey, Syrian fighter jets pounded villages in rebel-held areas in Latakia province, dropping makeshift bombs made from hundreds of kilograms of explosives stuffed into barrels, Turkey's state-run Anadolu agency said.

The so-called barrel bombs were used in strikes on targets in Latakia Friday, the agency said, adding the regime's assault included military helicopters.

The shelling of Latakia could be heard across the border in the Turkish province of Hatay, according to the news report, which also reported heavy clashes between government troops and rebels in Syria's northern Idlib province, also along the border with Turkey.

There were no reports of any deaths in the fighting.

Ambulances were sent to the border region to bring wounded Syrians to hospitals in Turkey, the agency said.

  • fidel.uncensored - 2013-01-19 00:04

    "Two car bombs" Blowing up the same people these terrorists profess to liberate! I hope the Syrian government eliminates as many of them as possible.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2013-01-19 07:16

      . Is it not strange, that if the assad regime keeps telling the truth, that they ban foreign journalists from Syria!!! Does one not do so, when one has something to hide ??? Because, like in this case, it would be rather easy to find out, WHO is lying !! You take plenty photographs , including from out helicopters, and one will see if this damage has been inflicted from the ground or the air !!! Until this is done, I believe the opposition !!!

      gorden.norman - 2013-01-19 07:53

      @AnthonyfromAfrica there is enough media coverage in syria from both sides. More media will just destort what is already being destorted. Do you not realize that mortars being fired also fall from the sky. The free syrian army has posts on there facebook page of them firing rockets from a home made launcher who knows where it lands. So them does that make the free syrian army right.

      fidel.uncensored - 2013-01-19 08:22

      You want to rely on these terrorists' version of the truth, seldom asking them to prove their case, while demanding of critics of that official version the most exacting tests of evidence, is simply ideological disingenuousness. The other day a university was bombed killing 90 people, and I asked myself, why would the Syrian government bomb a place where thousands of young men attend, and who clearly haven't joined this coup. "Cui bono? Who benefits?" How could these "Terror Attacks" possibly benefit the Syrian government? "Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof." - J K Galbraith

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2013-01-19 11:09

      Gordon, "There is enough media coverage in Syria , from both sides" Where do you get this from ????? The Syrian state media?? There are only a handful, of extreme brave foreign journalists and photographers in Syria. They work under unbelieveble difficult circumstances, firstly , often crawing under barbed wire, to get into the country, and while being in Syria, against International law, having NO protection, from this assad regime !! And if you want to belong to this leftits lunatic club, DON'T upset them: "firing rockets from a "homemade" launcher" !!! Don't you know, that they want to convince everybody, that the "foreign terrorists groups" have all this modern equipment to fight this assad monster?? Now, go and say sorry to them!!!!

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2013-01-19 11:12

      Fidel, "Jy moenie soviel k.k praa nie " Jan Potgieter 23 09 1997

      gorden.norman - 2013-01-19 11:27

      @AnthonyfromAfrica you must truly be living under a rock or you got blinker on. I do not agree with either side. If you use the internet its simple there are many news feeds from both sides its amazing try it do not just rely oo news 24 if thats too difficult there is a simple web page called google. With the comments you are posting seems to me you are childish and think its a competition to make silly remarks

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2013-01-19 12:00

      Gordon, Np, no competion !! Let me repeat my earlier comment, and now read it slowly; If a government bans foreign journalists, it is ALWAYS, cause they want to hide the truth !! Re, the carnage at the Damascus University; if there were enough foreign journalists, who could unhindered do their job, They would give us enough evidence, WHO is lying, the assad regime, or the opposition !! It is extremely naive to believe, that the foreign media, can do what they supposed to be doing, bring us evidence and proof !! And lastly; Are you Swiss ?? In a conflict, take a side, and when this conflict is between an OPPRESSOR and the OPPRESSED, do the right thing,; support the OPPRESSED !!

      gorden.norman - 2013-01-19 12:23

      I never argued your point on foreign media. I said there is enough media coverage in Syria both sides how they get there is does not matter they are there. More media will just destort the truth. You have to look at both side of a story if you agree you choose sides. If you dont agree how can you choose a side. What you believe to be right is not nesserary right.

      fidel.uncensored - 2013-01-19 12:51

      Applying any sort of logic to a post by Anthony is like trying to perform brain surgery or trying to find the meaning of life. He's just making ad hominem attacks because he has no argument and wants to try and stifle debate on this issue by being rude and ignorant.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2013-01-19 19:19

      Fidel, ""Cui bono? Who benefits?" How could these "Terror Attacks" possibly benefit the Syrian government? "" 'bono dela pola dia acid', 'It benefits assad' ( Sorry, got a tiny inferiority complex ) Why don't you ask your hero, this assad terrorist, why he had his Defense Minister Rajah, and his own brother in law blown up !!! Can't you get it between your ears, that this assad thug, likes KILLING, KILLING AND KILLING. Its a little problem in the assad family !!!!!!!

  • gorden.norman - 2013-01-19 11:33

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2013-01-19 12:11

      . "youtube" is fun !! I have had some great times watching Britney Spears pulling funny faces!! But don't take it to serious. It is like Google,one can get what one wants!!!! You want to know if the earth is 'flat' .34 seconds, and you have 998 000 000 entries!! Pros and Cons !!!!!!

      gorden.norman - 2013-01-19 12:40

      Yet that is where the FSA you support post all their propaganda that the press destort. You have to be able to sort fact from fiction clearly you can't. Once again there are two sides to a story and in this case neither is right.

      fidel.uncensored - 2013-01-19 12:52

      Careful, Gorden. That's dangerously close to a sensible, reasoned comment.

      gorden.norman - 2013-01-19 12:58

      @ fidel Don't get too excited the state media does the same via Syrian truth

      fidel.uncensored - 2013-01-19 13:07

      I know, I question everything as I have been questioning this fake revolution! I watch what they do and not what they say!

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2013-01-19 15:02

      . ""I know, I question EVERYTHING as I have been questioning this fake revolution!....... I watch what they do and not what they say"" Shame, you are sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo smart !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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