12/23/2011, 00.00
SYRIA
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Al-Qaeda, government blamed for two car bombs in Damascus

Thirty people have been killed so far, hundreds more are wounded, both military and civilians. Terrorists are behind the twin attack according to official sources. The opposition blames the government, saying the bombs were designed to prevent anti-Assad demonstrations.
Damascus (AsiaNews) – Two car bombs exploded in the Syrian capital, killing 30 people and wounding hundreds. In the official version, the two attacks are blamed on al-Qaeda, a local TV station reported. For the opposition, the government was behind the explosions to block today’s demonstrations. Meanwhile, the first 30 Arab League monitors have arrived in Damascus.

The two explosions occurred outside security service buildings, one in the capital’s western district of Qaboun, the other in Mezzeh, an eastern district of the capital.

The various theories surrounding the attacks reflect clashing views about the country’s nine-month old uprising. The opposition wants to end Assad’s dictatorship and stop the military’s cruel crackdown on protesters. The government blames demonstrations and deaths on “gangs of terrorist criminals”.

The twin attack comes at a time when the Arab League mission gets underway. The undertaking calls for the presence of observers to monitor steps taken to reduce the violence and move towards peace. However, its scope has been limited by Syrian authorities on security grounds (see “Arab League mission to Damascus raises doubts,” in AsiaNews, 22 December 2011).

For the opposition, the government agreed to the presence of Arab League monitors to avoid having its case discussed in the United Nations Security Council.
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