New blasts mar Syria truce, kill 20Agence France-Presse . Damascus
Twin blasts targeting security buildings killed more than 20 people in the northwest Syrian city of Idlib on Monday, a monitoring group said.
The violence, a day after the arrival of the chief of a United Nations monitoring mission, was sure to put further strain on a UN-backed ceasefire that went into effect on April 12 but has failed to take hold fully.
Most of those killed in Idlib were members of the security forces, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
‘The blasts targeted two security headquarters, one housing air force intelligence and the other military intelligence,’ Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
State news agency SANA said ‘terrorists’ were behind the attacks by ‘suicide bombers.’
Syrian television put the death toll at nine, among them civilians, and said around 100 people were wounded in the two blasts in residential areas.
It broadcast footage of bloodstains on the ground, and groups of angry people denouncing the violence and expressing support for President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
‘Is this the freedom they want?’ shouted one man, standing near a woman who was carrying a child with blood running down his forehead.
One building appeared in ruins and cars nearby were flattened by the explosion.
Hours later a third blast rocked the city’s university neighbourhood, and the Britain-based Observatory said: ‘There are reports of wounded.’
SANA said UN observers had gone to visit the scene of the morning explosions.
A powerful blast, probably a car bomb, was also reported in the suburb of Qudsiya near the capital Damascus, causing an unknown number of casualties, the Observatory added.
The explosion targeted a military vehicle, said Abdel Rahman.
An unknown number of civilians living near the site of the explosion were wounded, he added.
Overnight, a rocket-propelled grenade hit the central bank in Damascus, state media said, adding that an ‘armed terrorist group’ carried out a second RPG attack on a police patrol outside a hospital in the city’s Rokn Eddin area. Four police were wounded.
And the Observatory said two civilians were killed on Monday -- one by a sniper in a village in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor and one in a town in the central province of Homs.
Troops were also reported searching for deserters in Kfar Nabal in Idlib province, and making arrests in the Deir Ezzor town of Quriya.
On Friday, a suicide car bomb in central Damascus killed 11 people.
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