Syrian rebels bomb security building in Damascus

by
September 26, 2012

(Reuters) – Syrian insurgents detonated bombs at a building occupied by pro-government militias in Damascus on Tuesday and France called for U.N. protection of rebel-held areas to help end Syria’s bloodshed and rights abuses.

Activists say that more than 27,000 people have been killed in the 18-month-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad but jostling for regional advantage by world powers has thwarted effective U.N. Security Council action to defuse the conflict.

The United States, European allies, Turkey and Gulf Arab states have sided with the Syrian opposition while Iran, Russia and China have backed Assad, whose family and minority Alawite sect have dominated the major Arab state for 42 years.

With no foreseeable prospect of foreign intervention and peace diplomacy stuck, outgunned rebels have relied increasingly on attacks with home-made bombs, striving to level the playing field against a state using fighter jets, artillery and tanks.

“At exactly 9:35 a.m., seven improvised devices were set off in two explosions to target a school used for weekly planning meetings between shabbiha militia and security officers,” said Abu Moaz, a leader of Ansar al-Islam, one of the rebel groups in the 18-month-old revolt against President Bashar al-Assad.

Rebels said they hoped their attack would kill top-level security officials – as they did with a major Damascus bombing in July – but gave no casualty figure. State media said at least seven people were wounded, with minor damage to buildings.

At the annual U.N. General Assembly in New York, French President Francois Hollande sought to shake up international inertia over Syria’s crisis by demanding credible U.N. protection of areas now in insurgent hands.

“The Syrian regime … has no future among us,” Hollande said in a speech. “Without any delay, I call upon the United Nations to provide immediately to the Syrian people all the support it asks of us and to protect liberated zones.”

Protection for “liberated” areas would require no-fly zones enforced by foreign aircraft, which could stop deadly air raids by Assad’s forces on populated areas. But there is little chance of securing a Security Council mandate for such action given the continuing opposition of veto-wielding members Russia and China.

To read more, visit: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/25/us-syria-crisis-idUSBRE88J0X720120925

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