Fresh explosions rock Damascus, Aleppo | News | DW | 05.05.2012
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Fresh explosions rock Damascus, Aleppo

Explosions in Damascus and Syria's second city Aleppo have killed at least five people. Syrian troops, meanwhile, have used tear gas to disperse thousands gathered in Damascus for a mass funeral.

Syria's second city Aleppo was hit by a deadly blast on Saturday, with at least five people reported dead.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the blast hit a car wash as a bus was driving past the city's Tall al-Zarazeer neighborhood. The state-run SANA news agency confirmed the three deaths in Aleppo and said that 21 others had been wounded, two of them critically.

According to Rami Abdel Rahman of the London-based rights group, the dead included a 10-year-old boy killed "in the explosion of a booby-trapped passenger car parked by a terrorist outside a car wash." It remains unclear whether the bus' occupants were civilians or members of the security forces.

In Damascus, meanwhile, two bombs that had been planted under cars detonated on a central highway, destroying nine vehicles and leaving a crater in the street, according to residents and an Associated Press reporter. There were no reported casualties.

Hours later, Syrian regime troops reportedly used tear gas on Saturday to try to disperse a mass funeral attended by thousands of people who took to the streets of Damascus to mourn five protesters killed by army gunfire on Friday.

Violence worsening in Aleppo

Aleppo has been showing signs of increasing unrest since four students were killed and dozens arrested when security forces raided a university hall of residence on Thursday.

On Friday, Syrian forces reportedly fired on thousands of protesters in the city, killing a teenager.

Such reports are nearly impossible to independently verify, however, as the government has banned most foreign journalists from reporting in the country.

Violence has continued across Syria despite a UN-brokered cease-fire which came into force on March 12. Fifty of a planned 300 United Nations observers are currently in the country to monitor the cease-fire.

Saturday's violence came two days before a scheduled multi-party parliamentary election, which critics say will do little to curb President Bashar al-Assad's crackdown on a 14-month uprising against the regime.

ccp,sb/nt (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)