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Middle east

Car bomb targets Syrian military compound

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-05-19

At least nine died and 100 were injured in a suicide attack near a military compound in Syria's eastern city of Deir al-Zor on Saturday, according to media and official sources. The bombing was the latest in a series of strikes on security agencies.

AFP - A suicide bomber detonated a car bomb in eastern Syria on Saturday killing nine people, as US President Barack Obama said the G8 wanted a political transition in the violence-wracked country.

The bombing was the first of its kind in Deir Ezzor, eastern Syria's biggest city, since an anti-regime uprising broke out last year, and at least 10 other people were reportedly killed elsewhere in the country.

Among the dead were a woman and her two children gunned down in the northern city of Aleppo, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

A "terrorist suicide bomber" used 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds) of explosives in the attack on the Deir Ezzor neighbourhood of Ghazi Ayyash, said state television.

The powerful explosion left a crater 3.5 metres (yards) deep and damaged buildings within a radius of 100 metres, the channel said.

It occurred on a road housing a military and air force intelligence headquarters and a military hospital, according to the Observatory.

Images broadcast on state television showed a large bloodstain on the ground, a damaged building and vehicles charred by the blast, as well as smoke rising from the targeted district.

There was no claim of responsibility for the bombing but, as typically happens in such cases, the opposition blamed it on the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Elsewhere, a rocket slammed into the ruling Baath party's offices in Aleppo province, the Observatory said, a day after unprecedented anti-regime protests in the provincial capital of the same name.

"Unidentified gunmen targeted a Baath party office in Aleppo's Al-Bab town with a rocket-propelled grenade," said the Britain-based watchdog.

In Homs, sniper fire killed a civilian and blasts were heard as shells rained down on the flashpoint central city, the Observatory said.

Saturday's bombing in Deir Ezzor came a day after regime forces foiled a would-be car bombing in the same city, which is about 110 kilometres (70 miles) from the Iraqi border.

The government has repeatedly blamed bomb attacks on "armed terrorist groups" and Al-Qaeda.

G8 leaders have been meeting since Friday at Camp David, outside Washington, with much of their discussions focused on the bloodshed in Syria and Iran's contested nuclear programme.

Obama said on Saturday that the G8 -- which includes Russia -- agreed that the political process in Syria should move forward "in a more timely fashion."

"We had a discussion about Syria, we all believe that a peaceful resolution and a political transition in Syria is preferable," Obama said flanked by leaders of the G8 industrialised nations.

But Russia's non-intervention stance on Syria remained unchanged.

"There cannot be any change of regime through force," the Kremlin's Africa envoy, Mikhail Margelov said, adding that G8 leaders had yet to agree on the Syria part of their final summit declaration.

"One has to give an opportunity to the Syrians to sort out their affairs themselves," Margelov told reporters in Washington.

What started out as a popular uprising has over time developed into an increasingly militarised revolt, after Assad's regime used force to crack down on peaceful protests.

With the killings unabated, UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan plans to return to Damascus soon to further efforts to find a peaceful solution to the crisis, but a date has yet to be announced.

Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates on Saturday told their citizens to avoid travel to Syria's neighbour Lebanon, where sectarian clashes linked to the conflict have left 10 people dead.

Syria's foreign ministry, meanwhile, charged that the string of US and EU sanctions slapped on Damascus over its brutal crackdown on dissent was tantamount to "economic terrorism."

The sanctions amount to "a violation of the fundamental principles of human rights" and interference in the domestic affairs of Syria, the ministry said in a statement.

According to the Syrian Observatory, more than 12,000 people have been killed in Syria since the revolt broke out in March 2011, most of them civilians.


Date created : 2012-05-19