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Syrian bomb blasts as Hollande calls for UN action

Bombers struck a top military building in the center of Damascus. This comes as French President Hollande calls for an international shake up over the Syrian crisis.

Twin bomb attacks exploded at a top military building in the heart of the Syrian capital, Damascus, on Wednesday.

The headquarters of the armed forces general staff suffered only minor damage, Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zohbi told state television.

"The security forces are chasing an armed terrorist group on the outskirts of the area where the explosions struck," he added.

The term 'terrorist' is used by Syrian authorities to describe opposition forces trying to overthrow President Bashar Assad.

British based watchdog, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the explosions occurred within 15 minutes of each other.

They also reported automatic weapons fire could be heard immediately following the bomb blasts as clashes with security forces erupted.

French call for UN protection

Meanwhile, French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday called for United Nations protection of rebel-held areas in a bid to stop the bloodshed in Syria.

Addressing the annual UN General Assembly in New York, Hollande said "the Syrian regime…has no future among us."

"Without any delay, I call upon the United Nations to provide immediately to the Syrian people all the support it asks of us and to protect liberated zones."

The French government has said it will concentrate its humanitarian aid for Syria in the "liberated zones."

In addressing the assembly, Hollande backed other world leaders who have called for an end to President Bashar Assad's rule.

Reaffirming his government's stance, Hollande said that any opposition government created after Assad's ouster would be recognized by French leaders.

France, along with other western nations has been enraged by Russia and China using their powers to three times veto UN Security Council resolutions which would have led to sanctions against Assad's regime.

France's socialist president said in addition to the Syrian conflict, Iran's nuclear efforts and terrorism threats in Mali and the Sahel region in Africa were major emergencies facing the world today.

jlw/mz (AFP, Reuters)