19 Mar 2012

Car bomb explodes in northern Syrian city

7:31 am on 19 March 2012

A car bomb has exploded in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, killing at least two people and injuring 30 others.

The attack comes as a United Nations team is set to arrive in the capital Damascus as part of Kofi Annan's efforts to bring an end to the year-long crisis in his role as envoy for the UN and the Arab League.

Officials blamed terrorists for the attack, which state media said killed a policeman and a female civilian, the BBC reports.

Syrian television showed a wrecked apartment block and rubble strewn across a street in Aleppo, which last suffered a deadly bomb attack in early February.

It comes a day after two car bombs blew up near security buildings in the capital Damascus, killing 27.

The government routinely blames terrorists for bomb attacks, and links them to the year-long uprising against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.

The opposition, however, has accused the authorities of staging some of the bombings to characterise the rebels as terrorists.

Details of the reports are difficult to verify as foreign journalists are heavily restricted in Syria.

Elsewhere, activists said at least 16 people had been killed by security forces around the country on Sunday.

The BBC reports Damascus and Aleppo are seen as cities with high levels of support for Mr Assad and have been under tight security control to prevent mass opposition protests like those in Homs and Idlib.