Fresh deadly bombings hit Syria military
IDLIB / DAMASCUS
The damage at the site where two bombs detonated near state buildings in the northern city of Idlib is seen in this photo released by Syria’s national news agency SANA on April 30. AP PhotoTwin blasts targeting security buildings killed more than 20 people in the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib yesterday, as an explosion was also reported in the capital, a monitoring group said.
Syrian television put the death toll at nine, among them military personnel, and said around 100 people were also wounded in the two blasts in residential areas of the city. It also blamed twin blasts in Idlib on suicide bombers. Activists said they appeared to target local headquarters of intelligence services for the air force and the army -- two of the many security agencies that have helped keep the al-Assad family in power for four decades. State media said monitors from the United Nations team sent in to oversee the 18-day-old ceasefire were visiting the scene in Idlib. Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said the head of the monitoring mission, Norwegian general Robert Mood, was being briefed on “violations by armed opposition.”
300 obervers will make a difference: Mood
U.N. ceasefire monitors are trickling in to Syria, with 30 out of a planned 300 now on the ground. Mood acknowledged the huge task awaiting the unarmed mission but said he was confident it could make headway. “We will be only 300 but we can make a difference,” he told reporters on his arrival in the Syrian capital. “Thirty unarmed observers, 300 unarmed observers, even 1,000 unarmed observers cannot solve all the problems,” he said.
Although the rebels are far from a unitary force, their tactics appear to be shifting from small-scale ambushes on checkpoints and military patrols to audacious assaults on infrastructure and symbols of the Assad state. “We are starting to get smarter about tactics and use bombs because people are too poor and we don’t have enough rifles. It is just no match for the army. So we are trying to focus on the ways we can fight,” said one anti-Assad fighter who claimed to be in command of a militia unit. “The rebels are getting better at bomb-making - as you know, desperation is the mother of invention,” he told Reuters in neighboring Lebanon.
An Islamist group calling itself al-Nusra Front has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed at least nine people, most of them security officials, in Damascus on April 27. Lebanese security sources said yesterday Syrian soldiers had fired at a group of four skiers along the mountainous border after they mistook them for smugglers. One Lebanese skier was killed.
Compiled from AFP, AP and Reuters stories by the Daily News staff.