Sun, May 06, 2012 - Page 6 News List

Bomb blasts rock two Syrian cities in fresh violence

AFP and AP, BEIRUT

A series of blasts rocked Syria’s capital and the northern commercial hub of Aleppo yesterday, killing at least five civilians in the second city, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

One explosion in Aleppo went off in a car wash just as a bus was passing by in Tal al-Zarazir district, the Observatory’s Rami Abdel Rahman said.

Two blasts also hit the capital Damascus, Abdel Rahman said.

“One explosion occurred inside the city, and the other hit the periphery,” he said.

One of the Damascus blasts appeared to target a bus transporting regime troops, Abdel Rahman said.

“At least three regime troops were wounded,” he added.

The other Damascus explosion caused no casualties, according to the Observatory.

Also in Damascus, regime troops opened fire in the central neighborhood of Barzeh, as they carried out multiple raids and made arbitrary arrests in the capital, the watchdog said.

Abdel Rahman, speaking on the phone from Britain, accused the government of carrying out the Damascus bombings to prevent people attending funerals for nine civilians killed in the Syrian capital on Friday.

The nine died during demonstrations and funerals in the neighborhoods Kfar Sousa and Tadamon.

“This is the highest death toll we have seen inside Damascus” since a ceasefire took hold on April 12, added Abdel Rahman, whose group says more than 600 people have been killed nationwide during the tenuous truce.

Opposition bloc the Syrian National Council in a statement yesterday called on the UN observers to visit Kfar Sousa and Tadamon, “where the funerals of the martyrs killed on Friday will be held.”

On Friday, Syrian forces fired on thousands of protesters in Aleppo, killing a teenager, after a raid on dormitories at the city’s main university the day before killed four students and enflamed tensions in a key bastion of support for the regime.

An Aleppo-based activist said the Friday protests were the largest the city has seen since the start of the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in March last year.

Aleppo is a major economic hub that has remained largely loyal to al-Assad over the course of the 14-month uprising.

“The people are incensed by what happened at the university,” said the activist, Mohammed Saeed. “Everyone wants to express solidarity with those students.”

During Friday’s protests, security forces killed a 16-year-old youth in the Salaheddine district of Aleppo and wounded about 30 other people, Saeed said. Scores also were arrested, he said.

The Observatory, which relies on a network of activists on the ground in Syria, confirmed that a teenager was gunned down.

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