18 Days Remaining

Thursday 16th
posted by James Tweedie in World

SYRIAN insurgents marked the sixth anniversary of the start of the anti-government uprising yesterday with a double suicide bombing in the capital.

At least 30 people died in the attacks at the Palace of Justice in Damascus and a restaurant in the al-Rabwah district.

The official Sana news agency said the first bomber, dressed in military uniform, had surrendered his gun and a grenade to guards at the door of the court building.

Once inside, he detonated his explosive vest in the lobby where many people were filling in forms, causing carnage.

Photos of the aftermath showed pools of blood on the lobby floor. Lebanon’s al-Masdar News reported 31 deaths and 60 people injured.

The second bomber ran into the restaurant as he was being pursued by the authorities along with two other terrorists, who were captured. An undisclosed number of people, mostly women and children, were injured in the ensuing blast.

An unconfirmed report said a third bomb had been found at the city’s President Bridge and was being defused.

No group admitted responsibility, but Saturday’s double suicide bombing, which killed 40 Iraqi Shi’ite pilgrims in Damascus, was claimed by Hayat Tahrir as-Sham — dubbed Hetesh.

Formed in January, Hetesh is the latest alliance between the al-Qaida-affiliated Levant Conquest Front and smaller, Western-backed groups.

The army has gained ground against Hetesh this week in the Qaboun suburb of Damascus, and yesterday it advanced 11 miles east of Palmyra, threatening to seize more gas fields from the Isis death cult.

Meanwhile, confusion reigned at talks in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana as the rebel delegation denied a Kazakh Foreign Ministry report that they had reversed their decision to boycott the gathering.

Complicating matters, insurgent spokesman Osama Abu Zaid reportedly resigned.

Syrian delegation leader Bashar al-Jaafari accused Turkey of trying to derail the peace negotiations.

“As a guarantor country, Turkey is responsible,” he said.

“We should ask Turkey why the opposition has not come.”

On Tuesday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said he was ready to call a referendum on his country’s future.

But he warned: “The Syrian people should choose their president and should hold anyone accountable for any conflict and problem, not the United Nations.”