AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
BEIRUT: Explosions killed more than 20 people today when bombers targeted security buildings in Syria’s northwestern city of Idlib, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Most of those killed were members of the security forces, Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Britain-based group, said.
“The blasts targeted two security headquarters, one housing air force intelligence, and the other military intelligence,” he said.
State news agency SANA said “terrorists” were behind the attacks that were carried out by “suicide bombers.”
Syrian television put the death toll at nine, among them civilians, and said around 100 people were also wounded in the two blasts in residential areas of the city.
It broadcast footage of bloodstains on the ground in one neighbourhood, and groups of angry people denouncing the violence and expressing support for the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
One building appeared in ruins and cars nearby were flattened by the force of the explosion.
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.
“Initial reports indicate there are casualties,” he added. “But we cannot yet confirm the number of victims.”
An unknown number of civilians living in houses near the site of the explosion were wounded, he said.
Overnight, a rocket-propelled grenade hit the Central Bank in the capital, state media said, adding that an “armed terrorist group” also carried out a second RPG attack on a police patrol in front of a hospital in the Damascus area of Rokn Eddin. Four police were wounded.
The Syrian National Council, the main opposition group, said in a statement that the RPG attacks in the capital were “another trick” by the regime to justify its continued crackdown against a revolt that broke out in March last year.
“The Assad regime is trying in various ways to mislead and distract (UN) observers in order to prevent it from carrying out its work,” the statement said, also calling for “an international commission of inquiry to uncover who was behind the explosions.”
The violence comes despite a UN-backed ceasefire that came into effect on April 12 but has failed to take hold fully.