Syrian suburbs raided after bomb kills five in Damascus
DAMASCUS / BEIRUT
Islamist Shadi al-Mawlawi is welcomed by comrades and relatives after his release in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli. AFP PhotoSyrian security forces carried out a spate of raids in Damascus early yesterday, after a deadly bombing hit the capital. State television said the blast hit a restaurant in the Qaboon neighborhood of the capital, which has seen frequent anti-government protests.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said five people were killed. In all, at least 59 people were killed nationwide on May 21, including 31 loyalist troops who died in clashes with rebel fighters, the Observatory said. The bloodshed raged despite the deployment of a U.N. military observer mission to oversee a promised ceasefire, which has been breached daily since going into force on April 12.
The Observatory said dozens of people were arrested in pre-dawn raids in several suburbs of the capital, including Douma, Harasta and Barzen. It said powerful blasts were heard overnight in a number of provincial cities, including central Hama, northern Aleppo and the coastal cities of Banias and Latakia.
Meanwhile, an outspoken Lebanese critic of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose arrest sparked deadly sectarian clashes in Lebanon between pro and anti-Syrian regime groups, was released on bail yesterday, a judicial official said. The official said the military judge Nabil Wehbe had ordered Shadi al-Mawlawi released on bail of 500,000 Lebanese pounds. Al-Mawlawi’s May 12 arrest on charges of belonging to a terrorist organization sparked sectarian clashes in the northern port city of Tripoli that left 10 people dead.