11 May 2012

Syria suicide bombs kill 55

9:06 pm on 11 May 2012

The UN Security Council has condemned car bomb attacks that killed 55 people and wounded hundreds in Damascus and has urged an end to violence.

Two suicide car bombs exploded in the southern suburb of al-Qazzaz during rush hour on Thursday, wounding almost 400 people.

The blasts injured 372 people and were the deadliest since the start of the Syrian uprising 14 months ago.

The explosions damaged the facade of a 10-storey military intelligence building involved in the crackdown on the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad's rule.

Residents said one explosion punched a crater three metres deep. State TV showed burnt cars and two deep craters in the road.

The government and the opposition have blamed each other for the attack, the BBC reports.

Syria's ambassador to the United Nations, Bashar Jaafari, has accused terrorists of being behind the blasts. Mr Jafaari says Turkey and Libya are among countries sending weapons and supporting armed groups and he urged the UN to stop such activity.

The two sides are supposed to observe a ceasefire monitored by a United Nations team but violence has continued unabated across the country.

International peace envoy Kofi Annan, who brokered a six-point peace plan, said the Damascus blasts were abhorrent and counter-productive.

The US State Department said indiscriminate killing could not be justified, and urged the Syrian government to implement the Annan plan, a call echoed by the British government.

The Syrian army bombarded the city of Homs overnight in shelling that opposition activists described as some of the heaviest in Homs for weeks.