A series of explosions ripped through Damascus on Thursday killing more than 40 people and injuring hundreds more, adding further devastation to the already conflict-torn country.  The two car bombs have led to speculation that al- Qaeda could be at work in the Syria and taking advantage of the already fragile situation in country.

In an email, Rasha Othman of the Syrian Expatriates Organization said:

“The explosions in Damascus are reflective of the deteriorating security situation in Syria, for which the Assad regime, as the ruling government, is fully responsible. The regime blames Al-Qaeda, however, the Assad regime is clearly familiar with terrorist tactics, which they used in the 1980’s during the Al-Azbakeya bombings in Damascus. The Assad regime itself also has deep ties with terrorist organizations, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon. They are seeking to draw the attention of the UN observer mission away from the atrocities being committing elsewhere in the country. For example, the town of Al-Rastan is under military bombardment today [Monday], in clear violation of the ceasefire agreement. The decision of the international community to defer the decision to get rid of Assad will unfortunately only leave Syria open to infiltration of extremists groups. Something needs to be done immediately to prevent a bad situation from getting worse.”

The explosions come a month after Kofi Annan’s peace plan came into force and puts the chances of success of the plan into further doubt.  A member of the UN monitoring team was pictured on TV surveying the aftermath of the explosion but remained powerless to do much else but monitor the situation.

Agshin Mehdiyev, President of the UN Security Council has issued a statement saying that the “Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist attacks that occurred in Damascus, Syria on 10 May”.  The UN Security Council also sends its condolences to the families of the victims caught up in Thursday’s explosions.

The Security Council has once again reiterated its calls for all parties in Syria to implement all six-points of the peace plan and repeated calls for the violence to end.

Foreign Secretary William Hague was among those condemning Thursday’s attack and also called for the full implementation of the six-point peace plan.

In a statement, Hague said:

“I condemn today’s bomb attacks in Damascus which have claimed over 40 lives and injured more than 300 people, most of them civilians. Yet again it is the people of Syria who are suffering as a result of the repression and violence, which must come to an end. As Kofi Annan made clear to the UN Security Council earlier this week, the onus is on the Syrian authorities to implement a full ceasefire and begin the political dialogue required by the Annan Plan.”

“The UK supports fully the work of the UN and the Joint UN/Arab League Special Envoy and their efforts to end the violence and resolve the crisis in Syria. To that end it remains critical for the UN mission to deploy in full, and for monitors to cover as many locations as possible, as soon as possible. ”


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