Damascus bomb kills at least 10

Car explosion in Syria during visit by U.N. peace envoy

Topics: United Nations, Syria, Bashar al-Assad, Free Syrian Army, Damascus,

Damascus bomb kills at least 10Destruction in Syria (Credit: Associated Press)

A powerful explosion has hit Damascus, killing 10 people on a day when the UN peace envoy was visiting the Syrian capital for talks with President Bashar al-Assad on the crisis.

An official speaking from the scene said an explosives-rigged taxi blew up 50 metres from the Bab Touma districts’s main police station.

He and another official said 17 people had been wounded. Both insisted on anonymity because they were not allowed to make press statements.

Bab Touma, a popular attraction for shoppers, is inhabited mostly by members of Syria’s Christian minority.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that 10 people had died and dozens were wounded, adding that it was not immediately clear if the victims were civilians or police officers.

Bloodstains were reported on streets, several shop windows in the area were shattered and at least four cars were completely burned.

Islamist militant groups fighting alongside the rebels have sometimes claimed responsibility for bomb attacks against security targets in the capital, but none were confirmed.

In another party of the city, Lakhdar Brahimi, who represents the UN and the Arab League, met Assad as part of his push for a ceasefire between rebels and government forces during the four-day Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, which begins on 26 October.

Brahimi told reporters following a closed-door meeting that he had earlier met unidentified Syrian opposition groups inside and outside the country to consult on his truce plan. He said he had received “promises” but not a “commitment” from them to honour the ceasefire.

“There is a promise to stop fighting,” he said, referring to the opposition. He noted that he “found an overwhelming response” from Assad’s opponents to his ceasefire plan and that “all of them have said that it’s a good idea which they support”.

He declined to reveal Assad’s response to his plan, viewed as a preliminary step towards a larger deal.

“We are hopeful that the Eid in Syria will be calm if not happy,” he said, adding that he would return to Syria after the holiday. “If we find that this calm is actually achieved during the Eid and continued, we will try to build on it,” he added.

“The Syrian people expect more than a truce for a few days and it is their right, but all we can promise is that we will work hard to achieve their aspirations,” he said.



Brahimi arrived in Damascus on Friday after a tour of Middle East capitals to drum up support for the ceasefire. Countries including Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Germany have backed the idea.

Brahimi met the Syrian foreign minister, Walid al-Moallem, on Saturday. A foreign ministry statement released after the meeting did not mention the proposed truce, but said the two men had discussed “objective and rational circumstances to stop the violence from any side in order to prepare for a comprehensive dialogue among the Syrians”.

Syrian government forces and rebels have both agreed to and then promptly violated internationally agreed ceasefires in the past, and there is little indication that either is willing to stop fighting now.

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