A deadly blast has hit a Damascus district reserved for members of President Bashar Assad's inner circle. At the UN, meanwhile, special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has warned the country might become another Somalia.
Syria state media reported on Tuesday that at least 10 people were killed and 30 wounded in a bomb blast in the Hai al-Wuroud district of Damascus. The northwestern hilltop neighborhood is close to a barracks for elite government troops and houses members of President Bashar Assad's Alawite sect.
State television said that Mohammed Osama al-Laham, the brother of Syria's parliamentary speaker, was among the dead. Government officials and their families are being targeted more frequently by increasingly well-armed rebel fighters.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported 131 deaths around the country on Tuesday, after claiming that 247 people died in the fighting Monday. The Observatory's reports are very hard to independently verify, owing to restrictions on international journalists operating in Syria.
Brahimi warns of 'Somalia-ization'
The 15-member UN Security Council convened Tuesday for another closed-door session on the conflict in Syria. They convened after the UN-Arab League special envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, told the Al-Hayat newspaper that he feared the conflict might tear the country apart.
"Some are talking of the danger of seeing Syria divided… I think the real risk is not partition but 'Somalia-ization,' with the collapse of the state and the emergence of militia and armed factions," Brahimi said in an interview with the pan-Arab newspaper.
The UN undersecretary general for political affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, told the Security Council that there was credible evidence that the Syrian army was using cluster bombs in the conflict. Unconfirmed activist reports had suggested the use of these bombs. Syria - like the US, Russia and China - has not signed up to a treaty outlawing cluster bombs.
Cameron suggests safe passage solution
British Prime Minister David Cameron, meanwhile, suggested in a Tuesday interview that political asylum for Assad might be a solution.
Asked by Al-Arabiya television what he would say if Assad asked for safe passage out of Syria, Cameron told the station: "Done. Anything, anything to get that man out of the country and to have a safe transition in Syria."
"Of course, I would favor him facing the full force of international law and justice for what he's done," Cameron said midway through a tour of the Middle East. "I am certainly not offering him an exit plan to Britain, but if he wants to leave, he could leave. That could be arranged."
More than 36,000 people are feared dead since the Syrian uprising against Assad's rule began in March 2011.
msh/slk (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)