Deadly bombs hit Syria cities after peace talks flop

Deadly bombs hit Syria cities after peace talks flop
Wed Nov 6, 2013 20:40:07

Bomb attacks in Syria's capital Damascus and the country's south have killed at least 16 people, a day after Moscow and Washington failed to announce a date for proposed peace talks.

In Russia, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said Moscow was ready to host informal talks between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government and the opposition, AFP reported.

Russian and US officials on Tuesday failed to agree a date for a proposed peace conference in Geneva that has been delayed multiple times.

On the ground in Syria, at least eight people were killed and 50 wounded in Damascus by a blast in the central Hijaz Square on Wednesday, state news agency SANA reported.

"Eight citizens including two women were killed in an explosion caused by a bomb placed by terrorists at the entrance to the Hijaz railroad company," SANA said.

And in the southern city of Sweida, eight "intelligence officers" were killed on Wednesday in a suicide car bomb that went off by their facility, the anti-government Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed.

"A suicide attacker detonated himself in a car bomb in front of the air force intelligence headquarters in Sweida, killing the intelligence branch chief and seven other officers," Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said.

The city is a bastion of the Druze minority and is under government control.

SANA also reported the attack, citing a police source who said eight citizens were killed and 41 others injured.

In northern Aleppo province, the monitoring group said Syrian army forces had seized control of most of Tal-Aran town, strategically located on the main road between the city of Aleppo and town of Sfeirah which was recaptured by the army last week.

And in the northern city of Raqqa, the only provincial capital under militant control, the Observatory said ISIL militants had executed a local doctor, accusing him of being a spy for Turkish intelligence.

ISIL militants also decapitated a statue depicting a male and female peasant, known locally as the Statue of Liberty, said the Observatory, which takes its information from activists and doctors on the ground.

The latest upsurge of violence came a day after Washington and Moscow failed to announce a date for proposed Syria peace talks.

UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi told reporters in Geneva he was still hopeful the conference could be held before year's end.

The United States and Russia have been pushing for peace talks in Geneva for months, but Brahimi said divisions within the Syrian opposition were an ongoing obstacle to a conference.

Much of Syria's opposition opposes talks with the government and wants Assad's departure to be a condition of any conference, which the Syrian government rejects.

Information Minister Omran al-Zoabi said Monday that the regime will not attend if the aim is for Assad to hand over power.

Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. Reports indicate that the Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey -- are supporting the militants operating inside the country.

According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have been killed and millions displaced in the violence.


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