Car Bomb Kills Three, Wounds 25 in Syria's Aleppoإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Syria was hit by the third lethal car bombing of the weekend on Sunday as U.N. teams readied for a government-led humanitarian mission and to work to launch a monitoring operation to end a year of bloodshed.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, in a statement, said the latest blast targeted political security offices in the northern city of Aleppo, killing three civilians and wounding more than 25 others.
State media, which have said that such attacks aimed to sabotage efforts to find a political solution to Syria's crisis, said it exploded near residential buildings and a post office.
The attack left dead and wounded, causing heavy damage to apartment buildings and cars, state television reported, without giving a precise casualty toll.
Activists in Aleppo, the target of car bombings on February 10 that killed 28 people, told Agence France Presse in Beirut on Skype that the blast rocked the city at 12:50 pm (1050 GMT).
On Saturday, twin car bombings killed 27 people and wounded 140 others in the heart of Syria's capital, mostly civilians, the interior ministry said, blaming "terrorists" for the attacks near police and air force headquarters.
The capital and Aleppo, Syria's second largest city, are both seen as having high levels of support for President Bashar al-Assad and been relatively unscathed by the brutal crackdown on anti-regime protests.
"Yesterday's explosions were carried out by terrorists supported by foreign powers which finance and arm them," charged Al-Baath newspaper, mouthpiece of Assad's ruling party of the same name.
"The two attacks... aim to disrupt Annan's mission and to foil international efforts to find a political solution to the crisis," it said, referring to U.N.-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan.
A rally and prayers were held on Sunday at the site of the biggest explosion, in the al-Qasaa district that is home to many members of Syria's Christian minority.
State television, which said victims were being buried Sunday, has repeatedly broadcast how the al-Qasaa blast had totally gutted the facade of a multi-story building, wrecked family homes and left behind blood-splattered pavements.
The opposition Syrian National Council accused the regime of staging the attacks to terrorize its own citizens and for Syria to be viewed as under threat from al-Qaida.
The SNC, in a statement, called for the formation of an international commission of inquiry into the explosions and the role of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in "terrorist acts committed on Syrian soil."
"The Syrian regime wants to terrorize the large agglomerations, especially Damascus and Aleppo where large demonstrations have taken place these past few weeks," SNC executive bureau member Samir Nashar told Agence France Presse.
Nashar stressed that the attack in Aleppo and one of the Damascus bombings hit districts which are home to many members of Syria's Christian minority.
"The regime is perfectly capable of carrying out such blasts to tell residents that the country is sliding into chaos," he said. "It also wants to send out the message abroad that al-Qaida has made its way into Syria."
Ath-Thawra, another official daily, pointed the finger at Qatar and Saudi Arabia which have called for rebels fighting the Assad regime to be armed.
"The terrorism of Hamad and Saud is not a first. We know their blood-stained hatred, born of jealousy ... We have heard their call, and their incitement," it said, referring to the Saudi and Qatari ruling families.
Technical experts from the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, meanwhile, were to take part in a mission to assess the humanitarian impact of the crackdown on anti-regime protests since March 2011.
U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos, who held talks in Damascus this month, said they would at the weekend join the assessment mission to Daraa, Homs, Hama, Tartus, Latakia, Aleppo, Deir Ezzor and rural zones around Damascus.
The United Nations estimates more than 30,000 Syrians have fled to neighboring states and another 200,000 have been displaced within the country by the past 12 months of deadly violence.
Activists say the year-long conflict has cost more than 9,100 lives.
Former U.N. chief Annan, who met Assad in Damascus last weekend, has ordered a team of experts to Syria to discuss a possible ceasefire and international monitoring mission, his spokesman said.
Annan's team are to head to Damascus from New York and Geneva on Monday, his spokesman said.
On the ground, security forces mounted operations Sunday in Aleppo, northwestern Idlib, the east's Deir Ezzor region and Daraa in the south, birthplace of the anti-Assad revolt, and Al-Raqqa, northeast, activists said.
In the Aleppo region, Atareb town was shelled for the 33rd straight day, said Mohammed al-Halabi, contacted by AFP from the Lebanese capital.
Raids by security forces killed three civilians, including a 14-year-old boy, in the mountainous Jabal al-Zawiya region of Idlib, said the Syrian Observatory, a Britain-based monitoring group.
The Observatory said four soldiers were killed in clashes with rebels in the same region bordering Turkey, while security forces killed a civilian in Daraa, where deserters blew up a bridge near Khorbet al-Ghazaleh to cut a supply route.
It also reported that security forces beat up and detained opposition figure Mohammed Sayyed Rassas, a National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change leader, which is normally tolerated, and several youths at a Damascus protest.
On Saturday, two "terrorists" were killed as a booby-trapped car they were driving blew up in a Palestinian refugee camp in a suburb of Damascus, Syria's state news agency SANA reported.