Middle East

Opposition denounces Damascus 'terrorist' bombing

Walid al-Bunni, spokesman of National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, speaks during a press conference on December 27, 2012, in Istanbul. AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC

BEIRUT: Syria's main opposition group, the National Coalition, denounced as "terrorists" those behind a deadly car bombing in Damascus on Thursday, regardless of who carried it out.

In a statement posted on Facebook, the Coalition stressed that "any acts targeting civilians with murder or human rights violations are criminal acts that must be condemned, regardless of the perpetrator or the justification".

A police official told AFP the car bomb exploded at the 16 November Square near the Al-Iman mosque, where the ruling Baath party's head offices are located.

The opposition normally blames the regime of President Bashar al-Assad for such attacks, whether explicitly or implicitly.

State television said the blast, which left a large crater in a road, killed 35 people and wounded 237, while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the initial toll at 42 dead, including nine troops, and dozens wounded.

Both said it was a suicide bombing.

The jihadist Al-Nusra Front, a key fighting force in the battle to topple Assad, has claimed the majority of suicide attacks that rocked the country over the past year.

The anti-regime uprising began with unprecedented mass protests in March 2011 but steadily militarised under fierce state repression. At least 70,000 people have been killed over the course of the revolt, says the United Nations.





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