Suicide Bombers Strike Syrian Military Again

Posted May 19th, 2012 at 9:05 am (UTC-5)
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The death toll is rising following another suicide bombing apparently targeting the Syrian military.

Syrian state television says nine people are now dead and more than 100 injured after a suicide attacker detonated a car bomb in Syria's eastern city of Deir el-Zour Saturday.

Video from the scene – an area just outside of a military compound – shows smoke rising from the twisted wreckage of vehicles near the blast site.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack but state television pinned the blame on terrorists, saying the car bomb was rigged with 1,000 kilograms of explosives — enough to leave a significant crater and damage nearby buildings.

The attack further threatens to erode the tenuous cease-fire between the government and opposition forces.

In Damascus Saturday, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Herve Ladsous, defended the agency's efforts to enforce the cease-fire.

“I would remind you that this is a process. We have reached certain elements of our objectives. We are not there yet, but it is a process that will be continuing with the support of all those concerned in order, first and for most, to achieve this cessation and, in the first time, confirm the reduction of the violence.”

There are now more than 200 unarmed U.N. peacekeepers in Syria, a number that should reach 300 by the end of the month.

Last week, twin bombings in Damascus killed 55 people. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said he believed al-Qaida was behind those attacks.

Tensions between the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and opposition groups remain high.

Activists accused Syrian forces of using tear gas and live ammunition on protesters in Aleppo, on Friday, in what opposition groups called one of the biggest protests since the anti-government uprising began 15 months ago.

Hopes for peace may get some boost from international envoy Kofi Annan. A spokesman says the former U.N. chief is planning to return to Damascus to again pursue a peaceful solution to the conflict.

The United Nations says the death toll from violence related to the anti-government uprising that erupted more than a year ago may now reach 10,000.