Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Explosions In Damascus Kill At Least 40

Bombings kill 40, injure dozens near Damascus

Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:50AM GMT

Nearly 40 people have been killed and over 80 others injured in bomb attacks carried out in a district near the Syrian capital city of Damascus.

The bombings rocked the Jaramana district, about 10 kilometers (six miles) southeast of Damascus, on Wednesday.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of security forces, have been killed in the turmoil.

On November 23, three Syrian civilians were killed and four others injured in a car bombing in the northwestern city of Idlib.

Meanwhile, the Syrian newspaper Al-Watan on Tuesday published the names of 142 insurgents from 18 countries, who were killed while fighting against Syrian security forces.

Most of the insurgents were killed in October and November in the cities of Aleppo, Homs, Idlib, Deir al-Zour and Hasakeh, the paper said.

The Syrian government has repeatedly said that foreign-backed “terrorists” are responsible for the unrest in the country, and that certain Arab and Western states are fueling the turmoil.

On November 26, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Paris had allocated 1.2 million euros (1.5 million dollars) in emergency aid to the newly-formed Syrian opposition, known as the National Coalition.

November 28, 2012

Explosions in Damascus Kill At Least 34

by Edward Yeranian

Twin car bombs Wednesday ripped through a suburb of Syria's capital populated mostly by Christians and Druze, killing at least 34 people.

Syrian state television showed firefighters hosing down the burning wreckage of several vehicles and nearby buildings after two car bombs exploded in the main square of Jaramana, outside Damascus.

One unidentified witness said the explosions came in succession. He said a car filled with explosives blew up before a second explosion occurred near a school.

State media accused “terrorists,” the government's term for opposition forces. But several top opposition figures said that the government was behind the attacks.

Air attacks continue

Elsewhere, Syrian forces continued to pound rebels from the air.

Video posted on the Internet and aired by pan-Arab television channels showed smoke over the city of Homs after what was said to be bombing by government warplanes.

State television reports said government forces “destroyed hideouts of armed terrorists" in two Homs districts.

Opposition groups also posted video on the Internet claiming to show a downed warplane and captured pilots in the northern province of Aleppo. The video showed rebel medics appearing to treat the pilots.

The video cannot be independently verified. The rebels have come under Western criticism for executing some government captives in recent months.

Damascus fighting

Arab television channels are reporting that government ground forces have withdrawn from parts of the country to defend the capital, Damascus.

Government forces have reportedly lost control of some outer suburbs as well as southern areas of Damascus in recent weeks.

Hilal Khashan, who teaches political science at the American University of Beirut, said that Syrian rebels have captured a number of positions along the Jordanian border in the past several days. He said a battle for the capital may be drawing near.

"The [Free Syrian Army rebels] overran an important headquarters and they now control four checkpoints on the border with Jordan," he said. "When the battle for Damascus begins, you'll find a major thrust of fighters from northern Jordan into Syria to take part in the battle for Damascus.

"So, it seems that this is beginning to happen, because the FSA is focusing on the Jordanian border,” he said.

Also Wednesday, NATO officials visited neighboring Turkey, scouting out possible sites for a missile defense system.

Turkey has asked NATO to deploy the Patriot interceptor missiles to help protect towns near the Syrian border.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says violence across Syria has killed more than 40,000 people since an uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began in March of last year.

VOA's Jeff Seldin contributed to this report from Washington.

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