Failed Syrian truce dismays UN envoy
DAMASCUS / MOSCOW
A car bomb in the Syrian capital’s predominantly Christian and Druze area kills at least 10 people, including women and children, officials say.Syrian jets bombed suburbs of Damascus and a car bomb killed 10 people in the capital yesterday, in the last day of a supposed four-day truce.
The blasts, heard from several districts, were among the most intense in the capital since the beginning of Syria’s 19-month conflict, Agence France-Presse reported. However, shelling and car bombings resumed hours after the cease-fire was due to take effect on Oct. 26, with each side blaming the other for its dissolve.
The blasts were followed by a car bombing that killed at least 10 people in the predominantly Christian and Druze area of Jaramana, just outside Damascus, according to state television. “A terrorist car bombing next to a bakery on Rawda Street killed at least 10 people, including women and children,” the broadcast said.
The Britain-based watchdog organization Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said “the car bomb was detonated on a main street in the mainly loyalist suburb of Jaramana, where there is a proliferation of armed pro-regime popular defense committees,” or militias. According to the organization, the blast killed at least 12 people and wounded 15, some of them critically.
Damascus residents say Jaramana is controlled by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, who is fighting an armed revolt against 40 years of family rule, according to Reuters.
“I am deeply disappointed that the parties failed to respect the call to suspend fighting,” U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said in Seoul, where he was receiving the Seoul Peace Prize. “This crisis cannot be solved with more weapons and bloodshed ... the guns must fall silent,” he added.
Meanwhile, Turkish artillery retaliated yesterday after a shell fired from Syrian territory hit the village of Beşaslan in Reyhanlı, Hatay without causing any casualties. In contrast, some Syrian army soldiers fighting rebels near the Turkish border sheltered with Turkish armed forces, Anatolia news agency reported.
Syria’s conflict is going from bad to worse, the U.N.-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said yesterday after key talks in Moscow with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov regarding a solution to the fighting. He expressed disappointment that his four-day truce plan had failed.
“I have said and it bears repeating again and again that the Syrian crisis is very, very dangerous, the situation is bad and getting worse,” Brahimi said. “If it’s not a civil war, I don’t know what it is.” He described a Syrian woman whose two sons were fighting in opposing armies in the conflict. “This civil war must end,” he said.
Russia had supported Brahimi’s call for President Bashar al-Assad’s army and the rebels to lay down arms during the Eid al-Adha or Feast of the Sacrifice holiday.
The envoy said the failed appeal would not discourage him from looking for a solution to the violence, calling on the international community to “come together and help the people of Syria find a solution to their crisis.” Lavrov said Moscow was also “disappointed” that the truce plan was not realized by the opposing sides but said there was no point in arguing over who broke the cease-fire.