Explosions rip through Syrian police HQ killing 28
Published 11/02/2012 | 05:00
SYRIA'S conflict escalated to the country's second city of Aleppo yesterday when explosions tore through a police station and an intelligence headquarters, killing 28.
The regime blamed the first serious violence in the commercial centre of two million people on "armed terrorist gangs", although some opponents of President Bashar al-Assad disputed this claim.
Col Malik al-Kurdi, the deputy commander of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), claimed that the rebels were responsible.
The bombings coincided with a seventh day of attacks by government forces on the city of Homs, where tanks entered areas under the control of the FSA.
In Aleppo, state television reported that "car bombs" had exploded at two locations, showing graphic pictures of victims and wrecked buildings. Col al-Kurdi said that security personnel had been kept under surveillance.
"When they were gathering in a square to go to the mosques and repress demonstrations, two groups from the FSA targeted the two buildings with small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire," he said.
"After violent clashes, there was an explosion inside the military intelligence building. At first we didn't know what it was, but we think it was the regime trying to stop the operation of the FSA."
The department of military intelligence, led by Gen Abdul Fatah Kudsiyeh, has been a central instrument of repression since the conflict began 11 months ago. Another rebel spokesman, Col Maher Nouaimi, claimed that Mr Assad's "criminal regime" had itself carried out the Aleppo bombings to "steer attention away from what it is doing in Homs".
The government pressed on with its onslaught against Homs yesterday and the neighbouring suburb of Baba Amr, a stronghold of the FSA, has been largely cut off.
At least 300 people have been killed since February 3 and many of the wounded have been forced to seek treatment in an underground network of clinics, often in mosques or homes. All hospitals are compelled to report their patients to the security forces, who arrest those suspected of opposing the regime.
A Western diplomat said that securing the regime's permission for aid agencies to enter Homs was now the "most immediate issue". (© Daily Telegraph, London)