Scores of Syrians killed in ongoing violence
Updated: 2012-10-01 08:03
DAMASCUS - Scores of Syrians are reported to have been killed in an incessant violence on Sunday with reports of blasts and clashes, as the head of the UN envoy's office in Syria, Mokhtar Lamani, stressed that communications with all Syrian sides are ongoing in order to find a quick end to Syria 's protracted impasse.
The state-run SANA news agency said 17 people were massacred by "armed terrorist groups" in central Syrian towns on Sunday. It said the massacre took place in the towns of al-Haidarieh and Ghasanieh near the central province of Homs.
On the same incident, the pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV said hundreds of armed insurgents stormed the two towns overnight and rousted locals out of their homes before killing 17 of them and kidnapping seven others.
Al-Mayadeen also said that a big blast targeted a command center of the rebel Free Syrian Army in Hass area near the northwestern province of Idlib, killing four of its leaders.
In the northern al-Qamishli province Sunday, a suicide car bomber blew himself up in the western neighborhood, killing four civilians and injuring many others in addition to causing huge material damage to the nearby buildings, SANA said.
Quoting a source in al-Qamishli, SANA said that a small Kia truck loaded with sand exploded in front of an under-construction building, adding that the blast caused huge material damage to the nearby blocs.
Earlier in the day, an explosive device affixed under a car went off at al-Baytara roundabout in the capital Damascus, amputating the hand of the driver and leaving material damage, sources told Xinhua.
The al-Baytara roundabout is close to a main intelligence headquarters in the area, which has been targeted more than twice by explosives.
Last week, the same area was hit by an explosive device that ripped through a boarding school the rebels claimed was being used by the Syrian security forces as a base.
The blasts came as violence and clashes between the government troops and armed militias have engulfed some restive suburbs of Damascus and northern Aleppo province.
Meanwhile, clashes continued in Aleppo between the government troops and the armed insurgents on Sunday amid official reports that the Syrian troops have inflicted heavy toll on the armed men in Aleppo, a city of about 3 million, which has emerged as a key battleground in Syria's conflicts.
Also, the pro-government Sham FM said the army troops carried out qualitative operations in northern province of Idlib, killing five Libyans and seven Syrians, who are members of an armed rebel group.
In separate accounts, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said more than 100 Syrians have been killed so far Sunday.
It said the toll include 43 unarmed civilians, 10 rebel fighters, two defected army men and no less than 36 government forces.
The Observatory also reported violence throughout the country including clashes between troops and rebels, who are trying to turn the tide in the 18-months-old crisis in Syria.
However, the activists' toll could not be checked independently.
While this drags on, Canadian diplomat Mokhtar Lamani, head the Damascus office of UN envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi, met Sunday with Syrian Minister of National Reconciliation Ali Haidar.
After the meeting, Lamani said he discussed with Haidar the aspects of the Syrian crisis, internally and regionally.
He said he visited the central city of Homs on Saturday to " take a look at the size of destruction" there.
He also said he got in contact with a number of armed opposition figures in Homs, adding that he will continue such liaisons with all parties of the Syrian conflict.
For his side, Haidar stressed that the Syrian government does not mind the meeting between Lamani and any other Syrian party, whether it is armed or unarmed.
Haidar said that these meetings came within the framework of formulating a viewpoint regarding the crisis in Syria, not to make a decision on who represents the Syrian people.
Regarding the Qatari call for military intervention in Syria, Haidar said that those who followed Brahimi's speech at the United Nations knew that Brahimi stressed rejection of military intervention in Syria "as he knew that such thing will spoil all efforts to solve crisis in Syria."
He added that those who suggest military intervention in Syria seek to prolong the crisis instead of solving it.
Brahimi took over the post of UN-Arab League joint envoy for Syria last month, succeeding Kofi Annan, who resigned in frustration over the failed efforts to end the Syrian crisis, which activists say has claimed 23,000 to 26,000 lives.