Russia criticizes US over response to Syria car bomb
MOSCOW - Reuters
A general view shows burnt cars at the scene of a powerful car bomb explosion near the headquarters of Syria's ruling Baath party in the centre of Damascus on February 21, 2013. AFP PHOTO/LOUAI BESHARARussian accused the United States of applying double standards over Syria on Friday and blamed Washington for blocking a U.N. Security Council statement condemning a car bomb attack in Damascus.
The car bomb killed 83 people on Thursday on a busy highway, damaging nearby Russian embassy buildings in the Syrian capital.
"We are disappointed that, as a result of the United States' position at the United Nations Security Council, the terrorist act in Syria was not condemned," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a joint news conference after talks with China's foreign minister.
"We believe this is double standards and see in it a very dangerous tendency by our American colleagues to depart from the fundamental principle of unconditional condemnation of any terrorist act, a principle which secures the unity of the international community in the fight against terrorism.
Russia has used its status as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council to protect President Bashar al-Assad from three consecutive resolutions aimed at putting pressure on him to end the nearly two-year old conflict.
The United States has pushed for Assad's departure but Moscow says his removal must not be a pre-condition for any solution of the conflict.
Spate of blasts killed 83 in Damascus' deadliest day
DAMASCUS - Agence France-Presse
A spate of bombings across Damascus killed at least 83 people in the deadliest day for the capital since Syria's war erupted, a watchdog said Friday, as the opposition discussed a plan for peace talks with the regime.
Thursday's biggest bombing, which both the regime and its opponents blamed on "terrorists", killed 61 people and left a trail of destruction in the city centre, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The attack, in Mazraa district, was carried out by a suicide bomber who detonated his explosives-laden car near the entrance of the Baath party's main offices, said the Britain-based monitor.
Another 22 people were killed in an apparently coordinated triple bombing targeting security headquarters in the northern Damascus district of Barzeh on Thursday, including 19 members of the forces, said the Observatory.
Attacks have increasingly targeted government or security buildings in Damascus in recent months, many of them claimed by the jihadist Al-Nusra Front which Washington has designated as a "terrorist" organisation.
The attacks were condemned by both the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and the umbrella opposition National Coalition, as well as the United States, Russia and UN chief Ban Ki-moon.
There was no still claim of responsibility for the Mazraa blast.
The Syrian foreign ministry alleged the bombing was "carried out by armed terrorist groups linked to Al-Qaeda that receive financial and logistic help from abroad", using government terminology for rebels.
The opposition also denounced the bombers as "terrorists".