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Syria: Dozens killed as twin blasts hit Damascus

In Syria, dozens of people were killed or wounded this morning when two powerful explosions hit the capital Damascus.

Syria damascus blastsEnlarge
Syrians inspect damages at the site of twin blasts in Damascus on May 10, 2012. Two powerful blasts in quick succession rocked the Syrian capital at morning rush hour, killing and wounding dozens of people, state television said, blaming the attacks on 'terrorists.' (LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/Getty Images)

In Syria, dozens of people were killed or wounded this morning when two powerful explosions hit the capital, Damascus, Agence France Presse reported.

The New York Times cited local reports as saying that at least 55 people were dead, and another 372 injured. The Guardian described the attack as "the biggest in the capital since the start of the Syrian uprising in March 2011."

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State television broadcast graphic footage of the blast sites, and blamed the bombs on what it called "terrorists."

There were scenes of massive destruction in the al-Qazzaz suburb, in the south of Damascus, with state television reporting that the explosions took place on a freeway.

The Interior Ministry said that two suicide car bombs, involving more than 2,200 pounds of explosives, were involved, the Times reported.

According to the BBC, a first explosion occurred shortly before 8 a.m. local time, as commuters traveled to work, with a second timed to go off after attracting people to the scene of the blast.

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Syria's main opposition Syrian National Council accused the Damascus regime of carrying out the attacks, AFP reported.

Samir Nashar, of the SNC's executive branch, said the aim was to scare UN monitors who are in the country to observe a truce.

The head of the UN's observer mission in Syria, Major General Robert Mood, visited the site of the explosions and deplored "yet another example of the suffering brought upon the people of Syria from acts of violence." Meanwhile the UN and Arab League's joint envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, called the blasts "abhorrent." 

The US Embassy in Beirut condemned the attacks via Twitter, saying that "the indiscriminate targeting and killing of civilians is reprehensible and unacceptable in any context," Reuters reported.

Syrian activists have launched online calls for fresh protests in the wake of the bombings, the Telegraph said.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/syria/120510/syria-damascus-blasts