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Middle east

Syria blames bomb attacks on ‘foreign powers’

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-03-18

Syria’s official press on Sunday accused “terrorists supported by foreign powers” of being behind two deadly blasts in Damascus, adding that the attacks were meant to sabotage diplomatic efforts ahead of a visit by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.

AFP - Syria said Sunday that two deadly bomb blasts in Damascus were aimed at sabotaging peace efforts, as UN experts prepared to join a government-led humanitarian mission to devastated protest hubs.

"Yesterday's explosions were carried out by terrorists supported by foreign powers which finance and arm them," charged Al-Baath newspaper, mouthpiece of Syria's ruling party of the same name.

"The two attacks... aim to disrupt Annan's mission and to foil international efforts to find a political solution to the crisis," it said, referring to UN-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan.

Two huge bomb blasts killed at least 27 people and wounded 140 others in the heart of Syria's capital on Saturday, the interior ministry said, blaming "terrorists" for the attacks near police and air force headquarters.

Opposition activists blamed the regime, as in past lethal bomb attacks in the capital and the northern city of Aleppo.

Ath-Thawra, another official daily, pointed the finger at Qatar and Saudi Arabia which have called for rebels fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to be armed.

"The terrorism of Hamad and Saud is not a first. We know their blood-stained hatred, born of hatred and jealousy... We have heard their call, and their incitement," it said, referring to Saudi and Qatari ruling families.

Technical experts from the United Nations and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), meanwhile, were to take part in a mission to assess the humanitarian impact of the crackdown on anti-regime protests since March 2011.

UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos, who held talks in Damascus earlier this month, said the experts would join the assessment mission to Daraa, Homs, Hama, Tartus, Latakia, Aleppo, Deir Ezzor and rural zones around Damascus.

The UN and OIC staff would "accompany the mission and take the opportunity to gather information on the overall humanitarian situation and observe first-hand the conditions in various towns and cities," she said.

The United Nations estimates more than 30,000 Syrians have fled to neighbouring states and another 200,000 have been displaced within the country by the past 12 months of deadly violence.

Also on Saturday, two "terrorists" were killed as a booby-trapped car they were driving blew up in a Palestinian refugee camp in a suburb of Damascus, Syria's state news agency SANA reported.

On Friday, international envoy Annan warned of a regional "escalation" of the Syria conflict which activists says has cost more than 9,100 lives and urged the UN Security Council to close ranks to put pressure on Assad.

The former United Nations chief, who met Assad in Damascus last weekend, has ordered a team of experts to Syria to discuss a possible ceasefire and international monitoring mission, his spokesman said.

Annan's team are to head to Damascus from New York and Geneva on Monday, his spokesman said.

Date created : 2012-03-18

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