At least 27 reported dead in Damascus blasts | News | DW | 17.03.2012
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At least 27 reported dead in Damascus blasts

At least 27 people have been reported dead after two explosions hit the Syrian capital Damascus on Saturday morning. Civilians and police were said to be among the victims.

Syria's state news agency said that two "terrorist explosions" had hit the capital, Damascus, on Saturday morning around 7:30 local time.

At least 27 people were killed and 97 wounded in the blasts, Syrian Health Minister Wael a-Halaqi announced on state television.

One explosion was reported to have been close to the Syrian Air Force intelligence headquarters. The other was said to have caused devastation in the Duwar al-Jamarek district, where a criminal police headquarters is located.

Reports said that preliminary indications were that the blasts were car bombs. The London-based opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the bombings targeted "Syrian security headquarters," without giving details.

Opposition groups have accused Syrian security forces of stage-managing the attacks.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon "firmly" condemned the bombings and called for "all violence to cease immediately."

The explosions come two days after the first anniversary of the beginning of the uprising against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Watch video 01:15

Bombings hit Damascus as UN's Annan mediates

Although the capital has been relatively peaceful throughout the uprising, dozens were killed in three bombings that hit Damascus in December and January.

There was no immediate word on casualties, but authorities said that police and civilians had been killed.

UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan said on Friday that he would send a team to Damascus over the weekend to discuss a new mission of monitors to Syria.

Annan warned that the conflict in Syria would have a "serious impact" on the region if it were not handled properly and urged the UN Security Council to "speak with one voice."

rc/ncy (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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