Syria Suicide Bombers Kill 55, Ceasefire In Tatters
Syria Suicide Bombers Kill 55, Ceasefire In Tatters, Two suicide car bombers killed 55 people and wounded 372 in Damascus on Thursday, state media said, the deadliest attacks in the Syrian capital since an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began 14 months ago.
The blasts further shredded a ceasefire that was declared by international mediator Kofi Annan on April 12 but that has failed to halt bloodshed pitting Assad’s security forces against peaceful demonstrators and an array of armed insurgents.
Opposition leaders said Annan’s peace plan was dead, while Western powers insisted it remained the best way forward.
Annan condemned the “abhorrent” bombings and urged all parties to halt violence and protect civilians. “The Syrian people have already suffered too much,” he said in a statement.
The White House and the United Nations also condemned the attacks, for which there was no claim of responsibility.
Syria’s foreign ministry said the attacks were a sign that the major Arab state was facing foreign-backed t*rror*sm and urged the U.N. Security Council to combat countries or groups supporting such violence.
“Syria stresses the importance of the UNSC taking measures against countries, groups and news agencies that are practicing and encouraging t*rror*sm,” the state news agency SANA quoted the ministry as saying in a letter to the U.N. body.
The near-simultaneous explosions hit the al-Qazaz district just before 8 a.m. (9.00 a.m. EDT), residents said. One punched a crater three metres (10 feet) deep in the city’s southern ring road. Bloodied corpses and body parts could be seen on the road.
State television also showed at least one overturned truck. Walls of buildings on each side of the avenue had collapsed.
One resident reported limited damage to the facade of the nearby Palestine Branch Military Intelligence centre, one of the most feared of more than 20 Syrian secret police agencies. The huge walled complex was targeted by a 2008 bombing that killed 17 people and which authorities blamed on Islamist militants. (Reuters)
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