2012-05-10 13:36:52

Dozens killed in Damascus bombings

Two large explosions killed 40 people in Damascus on Thursday and wounded almost 200 more, state media said, destroying dozens of cars on a highway and damaging an intelligence complex involved in President Bashar al-Assad's crackdown on a 14-month-old uprising. The government blamed "terrorists" for the morning rush-hour blasts, which were the deadliest to hit the capital since the revolt began.

The explosions occurred a day after a bomb blast near U.N. observers monitoring a U.N. ceasefire deal - which state forces and rebels have both violated - and two weeks after authorities said a suicide bomber killed at least nine people in Damascus.

Maj. Gen. Robert Mood, the Norwegian head of the U.N.'s cease-fire monitors in the country, toured the site and said the Syrian people do not deserve this “terrible violence.”

“We need everyone inside Syria, everyone outside Syria to understand that this is going only to create more suffering for women, children, the Syrian people.”

The ceasefire was declared four weeks ago but despite an initial drop in the level of violence, bloodshed has continued. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon condemned this morning’s attack, saying the continuing violence undermines the plan, which is “possibly the only remaining chance to stabilize the country and avert a civil war.”

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