Two bombs exploded in government security buildings in Aleppo on Friday, killing at least 25 people and marking the first violence in a commercial city that has stood by the rule of President Bashar al Assad, the Associated Press reported.
Syrian state media blamed “terrorists” for the explosions and said it was evidence that the government is facing a violent rebellion. However, anti-Assad activists accused the government of causing the explosions in order to discredit the opposition and prevent protests scheduled in Syria’s largest city, the AP reported.
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At least 175 people were also injured, and the explosions caused extensive damage to the buildings and nearby homes, the Los Angeles Times reported. State television are continuing to show images of bloody, mangled bodies laying on the pavement outside of the buildings.
In the last week violence has increased in Homs and other areas throughout Syria, but this is the first hit to a city considered a stronghold of support for the Assad regime, the LA Times reported. Army tanks and heavy artillery continue to take over the streets of these areas, according to activists, shelling communities sporadically, Reuters reported.
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Syrians have been protesting against Assad for the last 10 months in hopes the leader, whose family has ruled the country for the last 40 years, will step down.
On Friday protesters came out by the thousands to demonstrate against Russia for its veto of the UN Security Council resolution that condemned the violence in Syria, CNN reported. Russia has accused the West of occupying Syria and stoking the violence as well as intervening in Syria’s internal affairs.
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Assad has ignored the appeals of United States, Turkey, Europeans and fellow Arabs to step down and end the bloodshed in Syria, Reuters reported.