Saturday, January 20, 2018

Dozens killed by twin car bomb blasts near Damascus

AMMAN, Jordan — The Syrian government and the opposition traded blame Wednesday over explosions that rocked a suburb of Damascus, the capital, killing at least 34 people.

State media said 34 people died in the town of Jaramana, while activists reported that 57 civilians were killed. Dozens more were injured, many of them critically.

They were among more than 100 people killed Wednesday, activists said, in another bloody day of the Syrian conflict.

In Jaramana, a car bomb went off during rush hour near a building entrance. As people gathered to help the injured, a nearby Mercedes also exploded, activists said. The car bombings were followed by two explosions on the nearby Qariyat highway, they said.

State media blamed the explosions on "terrorists," the catch-all term the government uses to describe the opposition. Opposition activists said the government was behind the attack, meant to further inflame sectarian fears.

There also were reports Wednesday that, for the second successive day, insurgents had shot down a government aircraft.

And in its first major effort to show it can be a viable political force, the newly formed Syrian opposition coalition started talks in Egypt to form an alternative to the government of President Bashar Assad and paving the way for more international acceptance and aid. Delegates were expected to hold their second day of talks today in a Cairo hotel.

Information from New York Times was used in this report.

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