Women, Children Among 16 Killed in Damascus Blast

DAMASCUS : A massive bomb blast near a school in a Damascus suburb killed 16 people, at least half of them women and children on Thursday. 

The blast in the suburb of Qatana, southwest of the capital, is the latest in a string of similar bombings in and around Damascus that the government says have killed at least 25 people in the last two days. 

Witnesses told Syria’s government supporting al-Ikhbariya TV channel what they saw.

“We were going to the school when the explosion took place. People flew into the air. I do not know anything about my parents. They may have died,” a woman said.

“They were all students and workers going to their work places. The explosion happened and people flew. The ground was full of bodies. I saw a victim who was cut into pieces,” said a man.

While no one has claimed responsibility for the bombings, some have targeted government buildings and killed officials, suggesting that rebels who can’t engage Assad’s forces directly in Damascus are resorting to other means. 

The government blames the bombings on terrorists, its shorthand for rebel fighters backed by West and Arab countries. 

The report quoted medics from a nearby hospital as saying 16 people were killed, including seven children and “a number” of women. 

It said nearly two dozen people were wounded. Similar attacks hit four places in and around Damascus on yesterday. 

Three bombs collapsed walls of the Interior Ministry building, killing at least five people. One of the dead was Syrian parliament member Abdullah Qairouz, SANA reported. 

Other explosions yesterday hit near the Palace of Justice, in the suburb of Jermana and in the upscale Mezzeh 86 district. 

One of the three killed in that that bombing was a state TV journalist named Anmar Mohammed, SANA said. The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported the deaths of Qairouz and Mohammed. 

Saudis allocate $100mn for rebels

The Saudi government has pledged to allocate 100 million dollars in aid to the Western-backed Syrian opposition, reiterating its recognition of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said on Wednesday that Riyadh would assign the money to the Syrian opposition to assist them in fighting against the Syrian government. 

He made the remarks during a meeting of the so-called Friends of Syria held in Morocco. 

On Wednesday, US President Barack Obama said Washington would recognize the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces as the “legitimate representative of Syrian people.” 

The UK, France, Turkey, and the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council have also recognized militants fighting the Syrian government. 

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