40 Killed in Twin Blasts in Syria

Posted May 10th, 2012 at 5:05 am (UTC-5)
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Syrian state media say more than 40 people were killed when twin explosions ripped through a Damascus neighborhood on Thursday, as U.N. monitors try to enforce a shaky cease-fire between the government and rebels.

The explosions erupted as many Syrians were reporting to work. The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights tells VOA the blasts took place near an office for security forces.

The state-run SANA news agency showed photos of the twisted wreckage of vehicles and what appeared to be human remains.

The government blamed “terrorists” for the explosions which left 170 people wounded. The French news agency says the main opposition group, the Syrian National Council, blamed the government.

The explosions have occurred a day after a roadside bombing near the flashpoint city of Daraa wounded 10 soldiers who were escorting a team of U.N. observers.

Observer mission leader Norwegian Major General Robert Mood visited the site of Thursday's blasts. He appealed for calm and said the explosions and similar acts of violence were causing more suffering for the Syrian people.

U.N. observers have been fanning out across Syria to monitor compliance to the cease-fire, which is part of a peace plan negotiated by international envoy Kofi Annan.

The United Nations says more than 9,000 people have been killed in violence related to the anti-government uprising which erupted more than a year ago.

The government has blamed armed terrorist groups for much of the unrest.

Meanwhile, vote-counting continues from Monday's parliamentary elections in Syria. Opposition groups have dismissed the elections as a sham.