|Syrian security officials inspect the site of an explosion in Damascus|
Two huge bomb blasts killed at least 27 people and wounded almost 100 in central Damascus on Saturday, state media said, as special envoy Kofi Annan geared up for a monitoring mission to end the year-long bloodshed in Syria.
The early morning “terrorist” attacks, apparently car bombings timed minutes apart, targeted criminal police headquarters in the Duwar al-Jamarek area and air force intelligence offices in Al-Qasaa district, state television said.
“Twenty-seven people, mostly civilians, were killed and 97 others wounded in the two explosions,” Wael al-Halaqi said on Syria News, another official television channel.
As angry residents vented their fury at Arab supporters of anti-regime activists, he said the remains of three bodies were among the grisly toll of the early morning blasts in central Damascus but did not specify if they were included in the casualty toll. The state broadcaster ran footage of a charred body inside the mangled remains of a smouldering vehicle in Duwar al-Jamarek (Customs Roundabout).
The front of a multi-storey building was totally gutted by the impact of the other blast and several cars destroyed. The television broadcast images of wrecked apartments and blood-splattered streets. An anti-regime activist in Damascus, Abu Muhannad al-Mazzi, told AFP the first blast struck at 7:30 am (0530 GMT). “A few minutes later, the second explosion, more powerful, rang out,” he said.
Commentators on state television blamed Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the fiercest Arab critics of President Bashar al-Assad over his regime's deadly crackdown on dissent since March 2011, which have both called for rebels to be armed. They carried “political, judicial and religious responsibility,” one charged.
UN estimates more than 30,000 Syrians have fled to neighbouring states and another 2,00,000 are displaced within Syria.
Jail for Assad’s wife
Assad's wife Asma could face a two-year prison sentence for spending tens of thousands of pounds on accessories, as her online shopping sprees may have broken financial sanctions imposed on her husband. Her shopping spree could land her in trouble because Assad is number one on a list of 114 Syrians subjected to European Union financial sanctions, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Mystery near-naked woman in Assad’s email
President Assad was sent a photograph of a near-naked woman posing provocatively on his personal email account, it was revealed. The undated picture, showed the woman, clad only in white lingerie, pressing herself against a wall as her clothes in a heap at her feet. The photograph was sent to Assad on December 11, 2011, by a woman who is not his wife.
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