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Aleppo Blast (JS)
Aleppo Blast (JS)

Blasts tear through heart of Syria's Aleppo

(Omar al-Shaar | Dp-news)
Aleppo- Three explosions ripped through a government-controlled district of Syria’s second largest city early on Wednesday at 07:45 am, causing destruction; killing and injured dozens of people.

Press reports said that the bombings were the deadliest in Syria's raging civil war since August 28, when a car bomb targeted the funeral of two government loyalists in a Damascus suburb, also killing 27 people.

The explosions also came a week after rebels bombed military command buildings in the heart of Damascus and clashed with security forces for several hours.

Activists reported earlier on Wednesday that more than two explosions rocked the heart of country`s second largest city, Aleppo at Northern Syria.

Two hours later, Syrian TV -state official television- reported "three terrorist explosions" in the city and broadcast scenes of massive destruction of buildings in the square.

Pictures emerging from the scene showed extensive damage.

Pro-regime al-Ikhbariya tTVshowed footage of four dead men; including one dust-covered body being pulled from the rubble of a collapsed building and loaded onto the back of a pickup truck.

Many of the buildings on the square had their facades ripped off and there was a deep crater in the road.

The blasts in Aleppo, which came within minutes of each other, struck the main Saadallah al-Jabiri Square close to a military officers' club and a fifth bomb exploded a few hundred meters away, state television said.

The carnage took place on the fringes of the Old City where rebels and forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have been fighting.

"Five minutes after the first explosion a second bomb exploded. A third exploded ten minutes after that," a state television reporter said. "There was a fourth car bomb which exploded before engineering units could defuse it."

Syria`s official media also reported Wednesday “This was followed by the entry of three terrorists equipped with explosive belts from the northern side of al-Nadi al-Siyahi Hotel wearing the uniforms of the Syrian Arab Army, according to the official source. The suicide terrorists were killed.”

Another car, a third one, exploded in Tajmil Masharqa area after being shot by guard members. No casualties were reported, state-run news agency SANA added.

SANA also reported Wednesday “Syria People's Assembly condemned the terrorists’ bombings which rocked Aleppo city on Wednesday, martyring and injuring dozens of civilians.”

"Aleppo woke up today on a heinous crime , as horrible terrorist bombings targeted innocent civilians in fulfillment of the terrorists' scheme who do not have any humane values," said Speaker of the People's Assembly, Mohammad Jihad al- Laham, during the opening of a parliament's ordinary session, SANA added.

Citing medical sources, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitor the violence in Syria through a network of activists, put the death toll at least 40 with 90 injured.

A Syria government official earlier told The Associated Press the death toll was 27. The reason for the discrepancy was not immediately clear, and it is difficult for media to verify any claims made by either side in the country’s civil war.

The state television station also broadcast footage of three dead men disguised as soldiers in army fatigues who it said were shot by security forces before they could detonate explosive-packed belts they were wearing. One appeared to be holding a trigger device in his hand.

Aleppo-based activist Mohammad Saeed told Pan-Arab news channel Al-Jazeera the blasts appear to have been caused by car bombs and were followed by clashes and heavy gunfire.

Earlier on Tuesday, a pro-Assad Lebanese newspaper said on Tuesday that Assad was visiting Aleppo to take a first-hand look at the fighting and had ordered 30,000 more troops into the battle. It said President Bashar al-Assad would remain in the city.

Later on Tuesday, a Syrian pro-regime news reports denounced these news and quoted Aleppo Governor telling that “such news are completely false and baseless.”

Bombings are increasingly becoming part of the unrest, which began in March last year as peaceful protests for reform but has since morphed into an armed insurgency, with more than 30,000 people killed, according to activists.

It has also wreaked widespread destruction, particularly in recent weeks as regime forces stepped up air strikes and shelling attacks, and rebels fired mortar shells and rocket-propelled grenades. Entire neighborhoods in Syria's three largest cities -Aleppo, the capital Damascus and Homs- have been devastated.

The Syrian uprising broke out in March 2011 after unarmed protesters, inspired by the success of popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, took to the streets demanding political reform and an end to four decades of al-Assad regime.
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