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Bomb blasts rock Syria army HQ

Bomb blasts rock Syria army HQ
Deadly gunfire erupted around the headquarters compound of the Syrian army in the heart of Damascus on Wednesday following twin bombings targetting the heavily guarded complex.

Iran’s Press TV said the shooting killed one of its correspondents and wounded its Damascus bureau chief as they reported from the scene.

The Syrian army said all of its officers had escaped unharmed from the bombings targetting its general staff headquarters in the capital’s Umayyad Square district.

It said there had been ‘indiscriminate’ shooting around the perimeter of the compound and in adjacent streets.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that fierce clashes erupted leaving dead on both sides.

The spectacular assault on the command centre of the army’s operations against the 18-month rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad came as the worsening bloodshed dominated proceedings at the UN General Assembly in New York.

‘The terrorist explosions were caused by two bombs but the only damage was to property,’ Information Minister Omran al-Zohbi told state television.

‘All military commanders and army spokespeople are fine,’ he added.

A communique issued by the army also said there had been no casualties among its officers.

‘Armed terrorist groups with affiliations abroad this morning carried out a new act of terrorism by detonating a car bomb and another device on the edge of the general staff compound,’ the statement said. ‘All senior commanders and other officers are safe and sound, and none of them was wounded.’


More than 30,000 people, most of them civilians, have been killed in violence since the outbreak of a revolt against President Bashar al-Assad in March last year, a monitoring group said on Wednesday. ‘At least 21,534 civilians, 7,322 soldiers and 1,168 defectors have been killed in the past 18 months,’ Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP. Included in the civilian toll are non-military individuals who took up arms to join the insurgency, Abdel Rahman said. The toll does not include thousands of people arbitrarily detained and held in Syrian jails, he added, nor does it include hundreds of unidentified corpses, most of which were found across the war-torn country in the past three months. The toll also excludes ‘thousands of shabiha (pro-regime militiamen) killed,’ said Abdel Rahman. ‘More than 30,000 people killed in 18 months – that means more than 100 killed each day, yet the international community and Arab countries keep saying ‘something’ must be done for Syria,’ said Abdel Rahman.


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