Suicide bombers hit two security service bases in Damascus on Friday, killing 40 people and casting a pall over the first day of work of an Arab observer mission intended to oversee an end to nine months of bloodshed.
The bombings, which officials blamed on al-Qaeda, were the first against the powerful security services in the heart of the capital since the uprising began and overshadowed protests against President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
“The new toll for the two attacks today is established at 40 dead and 150 injured”, an official told AFP.
Lebanese Shia militant group Hezbollah, an ally of Mr. Assad, accused “terrorist” Washington of orchestrating the attacks. The movement said such bombings are “the speciality of the United States”, which is seeking revenge for its “defeat” in Iraq, days after its forces completed their withdrawal from the country.
Lebanese President Michel Sleiman condemned the blasts as “terrorist attacks” and said they were aimed at disrupting the Arab League's efforts to resolve the crisis. The observer mission is part of an Arab plan endorsed by Syria on November 2 that also calls for the withdrawal of the military from towns and a halt to violence against civilians. — AFP