DAMASCUS, Syria – Syrian state TV says dozens of people are dead or wounded aftertwo strong explosions ripped through the capital, Damascus. Thursday morning's blasts heavily damaged a military intelligencebuilding and left blood and human remains in the streets. The blasts happened at about 7:50 a.m., when employees are usuallyarriving at work. THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. |
Check back soon for furtherinformation. AP's earlier story is below. DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Two strong explosions ripped throughthe Syrian capital Thursday, heavily damaging a militaryintelligence building and leaving blood and human remains in thestreets. The death toll was not immediately clear. An Associated Press reporter at the scene said ambulances weretrying to reach the victims in the capital's Qazaz neighborhood.
The blasts happened at about 7:50 a.m., when employees are usuallyarriving at work. Central Damascus is tightly under the control of forces loyal toPresident Bashar Assad but has been struck by several bomb attacks,often targeting security installations or convoys. The latest major explosion in the capital occurred on April 27 whena suicide bomber detonated an explosives belt near members of thesecurity forces, killing at least nine people and wounding 26. Syria's conflict started in March 2011 with mass protests callingfor political reform.
The government swiftly cracked down,dispatching tanks, troops, snipers and pro-government thugs toquash dissent, and many members of the opposition took up arms todefend themselves and attack government troops. Many soldiers alsoswitched sides. The U.N said weeks ago that more than 9,000 people had been killed.Hundreds more have died since. International diplomacy has failed to stop the bloodshed, and theU.N. has ruled out military intervention of the type that helpedbring down Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, in part out of fear that itcould exacerbate the violence.
On Wednesday, a roadside bomb hit a Syrian military truck in asouthern province just seconds after the head of the U.N. observerteam was driving by in a convoy, demonstrating the fragility of theinternational plan to end the country's bloodshed. In Washington, meanwhile, President Barack Obama took steps toextend sanctions against Assad's government, saying Syria poses an"unusual and extraordinary threat" to U.S. national security anddiplomatic goals.
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