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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Dec 2014

World

Car bomb kills 10, wounds 62 in Syrian capital
AP
Damascus, July 25, 2013
First Published: 19:13 IST(25/7/2013)
Last Updated: 20:49 IST(25/7/2013)

A powerful car bomb exploded in a suburb of the Syrian capital on Thursday, killing 10 people and wounding dozens of others, Syria's state-run news agency said.

The explosion in Jaramana, just few kilometers (miles) southeast of Damascus, came as the United Nations' top official said more than 100,000 people have been killed in the ongoing civil war gripping Syria.

The state news agency SANA reported that the explosion caused heavy damage to nearby buildings and destroyed many cars. It said 62 people were wounded.

Jaramana, a neighborhood that overwhelmingly supports the government of President Bashar Assad, has been targeted by a series of explosions before. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an anti-government activist organisation, said the blast killed 7 and wounded more than 30. It said the blast caused heavy material damage and started a fire.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing.

People gather around wreckage after a car bomb exploded in the Jaramana district of southeast Damascus in this handout released by Syria's national news agency SANA. (Reuters Photo/SANA)


More than 100,000 people have been killed since the Syrian conflict started in March 2011, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said Thursday, calling for a political solution to end the conflict. So far, however, the violence in Syria has defied all international attempts for a political solution. Read: More than 2,000 killed in Syria since start of Ramzan: NGO

The conflict began largely as peaceful protests against Assad's rule. It escalated into a civil war after opposition supporters took up arms to fight a brutal government crackdown on dissent.

Meanwhile, the Syrian government lashed out Thursday at the US decision to send arms to rebels fighting troops loyal to Assad, saying Washington is unsuitable to act as a broker at any peace negotiations in Geneva.

"The American intensions seek to continue the cycle of violence and terrorism in Syria in order to destabilize security and stability in the region," the foreign ministry said in a statement. Read: Pentagon puts high cost to Syrian intervention

In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian citizens gather under damaged houses after a car bomb exploded in the suburb of Jaramana, Damascus, Syria. (AP Photo/SANA)


The US government opposed providing any lethal assistance to Syria's rebels until last month, but is moving ahead now with sending weapons to vetted rebels after securing the approval of the House and Senate Intelligence committees.
Read: UN chemical weapons team arrives in Syria

The White House acknowledged that momentum in the conflict has shifted as the Lebanese militant Hezbollah group and Iran have helped Assad's forces.

President Barack Obama and his national security team still have yet to say publicly what weapons they'll provide the Syrian opposition and when they'll deliver them. There has also been concern in the West that US weapons could end up in the hands of al-Qaida-linked groups.

A handout image allegedly shows the Khaled bin Walid mosque whose mausoleum has been partially destroyed in the al-Khalidiyah neighbourhood of the central Syrian city of Homs. (AFP Photo/Shaam News Network)


At the same time, the US and Russia have been working to set up a peace conference in Geneva to try to end the civil war. No official date has been set for the conference as the opposition refuses to attend any talks that are not about Assad's departure. Government officials say participation in the conference should be without preconditions.

"Washington's decision to send arms to terrorists in Syria confirms that the American administration is not fair in efforts to find a political solution and hold an international conference in Geneva," said Syrian state TV, citing an unnamed Foreign Ministry official. Assad's government routinely refers to opposition fighters as terrorists.


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