Syria: 'Dozens Killed' In Car Bomb Attack

At least 31 people have been killed in a car bombing near the headquarters of the ruling Baath party in Syria's capital, opposition activists say.
The UK-based group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said most of the dead were civilians but members of the Syrian security services were also killed in the Damascus attack.
Witnesses and opposition activists said the explosion targeted a security checkpoint in the central Mazraa neighbourhood.
State media also reported the blast, claiming a "large number" of civilians were killed and hurt in what it said was a suicide bombing.
It claimed the attack was carried out by "terrorists" battling President Bashar al Assad in a two-year uprising.
Syrian television broadcast footage of several bodies along a main street and firefighters dousing dozens of burning vehicles.
It reported that casualties included children at a nearby school.
Debris was spread over a wide area and black smoke billowed into the sky.
Eyewitnesses said a car had exploded at a security checkpoint between the Russian embassy and the HQ of Mr Assad's party.
The windows of the embassy were blown out by the blast but none of its staff were hurt, Russian news agencies reported.
And a police official at the scene told the AFP news agency: "It was a car bomb at the 16 November Square, near the Al Iman mosque."
One local resident said: "It was huge, everything in the shop turned upside down."
Damascus has so far mostly avoided the large-scale violence that has destroyed other Syrian cities.
But rebels who control districts to the south and east of the capital have been attacking Mr Assad's power base for nearly a month, and have carried out devastating bombings several times in the last year.
The United Nations has said around 70,000 people have died in the uprising since it began in March 2011.
Meanwhile, the opposition umbrella organisation, the Syrian National Coalition, is willing to negotiate a peace deal to end the war but Mr Assad cannot be a party to any settlement, a communique drafted for a major opposition meeting has said.
The communique, seen by Reuters, left out a direct demand for the president's removal, in a softening of tone from past positions that insisted he must go before there could be any talks.
The document, to be debated at a meeting of the opposition alliance's leadership, said Mr Assad and his chiefs must be held accountable for bloodshed and that any peace deal must be arranged by the United States and Russia.

Yahoo News


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