Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Deadly Bombing in Damascus Suggests New Chapter in Uprising

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Deadly Bombing in Damascus Suggests New Chapter in Uprising

Article excerpt

Reports said that the attack, which killed 25 and wounded dozens, had been carried out by a suicide bomber at a busy intersection, and Syrian television broadcast images of a wrecked police bus.

A bomb tore through a densely populated neighborhood in Damascus on Friday, killing 25 people and wounding dozens in the second attack in the Syrian capital in two weeks, Syrian television and other state news media reported.

The reports said that the attack had been carried out by a suicide bomber at a busy intersection, and Syrian television broadcast images of a wrecked police bus, asphalt with blood and glass, and the shattered windshields of other vehicles. The broadcasts described the blast as "a powerful explosion" in Midan, a neighborhood that has been restive, and said that civilians and security-force personnel had been killed and wounded.

Syrian television put the number of wounded at 46.

The government of President Bashar al-Assad did not provide any evidence that a suicide bomber had been responsible for the explosion.

Though no one took responsibility for the carnage, the bombings Friday and in December seem to mark a potentially new chapter in the uprising against the Assad government. While many protests across the country remain peaceful, the uprising itself has become more violent in past months, with a growing armed insurgency. The bombings themselves recall another revolt in the late 1970s and 1980s that posed a sweeping challenge to the rule of Mr. Assad's father, Hafez al-Assad.

The sound of ambulance and police car sirens could be heard Friday as government forces poured into the Midan neighborhood, residents in Damascus said. In the chaotic aftermath of the attack, residents in nearby neighborhoods said that security forces and paramilitaries had gone on what some of them described as a rampage, shooting, beating and arresting people in the streets.

"I just saw a guy being smacked and hit on the head with sticks," said a 19-year-old student who gave her name as Amana and who was visiting a friend in the nearby neighborhood of Kafr Souseh at the time. …

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