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The Escalating Violence in Syria: Damascus Explosions


The Escalating Violence in Syria

Damascus Explosions

As an episode in the Arab Spring phenomena, Syria witnessed on March 15th 2011 the beginning of a popular uprising against the Assad family ruling since 1970. From the very beginning, the regime started accusing armed terrorist Salafist groups linked to the Qaida and Muslim Brotherhood organizations. These terrorist groups, the regime claims, belong to the opposition and attack opposition members to blame the regime for the killing. These attacks, later on, developed into booby traps and bomb cars. On the other hand, the opposition is accusing the regime of being responsible for these actions and put forward many sensible presumptions of the regimes involvement in the attacks.

Now it has become an axiom that the Syrian regime is the side shooting the largely unarmed protestors; the coming video, in addition to hundreds else, for example, shows the minute the cameraman Basil al-Said was shoot dead.[1]Nevertheless, what about the booby traps and cars and the involvement of the Qaida in these explosions? The criminological rule says just find the beneficiaries. Up to date, Damascus witnessed five major explosions which benefited only one side. This article is going to be about the first four of them.

The first explosion happened on December 23rd 2011 a few hours after the arrival of the Arab Monitors. These two bomb cars hit two of the most heavily guarded buildings in Damascus. One explosion happened inside one of these two buildings. Omar Idilbi, a member of the opposition group the Syrian National Council, described the explosions as “very mysterious” because they happened in heavily guarded areas difficult to reach by car, as reported by the Guardian.The Guardian has also reported “One Damascus resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said a road near the state security building had been closed 10 minutes before the first bomb detonated and that the security presence in the area had been much higher than normal.”[2]

Syrian state media said that Syria had received information from Lebanon about an imminent attack. Faiz Qusan, the Lebanese Minister of Defense, affirmed this piece of information; however, Marwan Sherbel, the Lebanese Minister of Internal Affairs, said to Al-Shareq Al-Aawsat Newspaper, “We do not have official information of any Qaida members’ presence in Lebanon. The minister of defense told us during a cabinet session that such member exist in Iersal area…he spoke of some information he obtained rather than arresting any Qaida member especially that the borders are under the supervision of the army. I am not sure even whether he obtained this piece of information due to collaboration between the Lebanese and Syrian armies.”[3]It is worth mentioning that Mr. Qusan is member of the Free Patriotic Movement headed by General Michael Aoun who is a close ally of the Iranian satellite Hezbollah which is also a committed supporter of the Syrian regime . Syrian opposition suggests that the first explosion was meant to give the Arab observers the first impression when they first arrived and the second one to reinforce this impression a day before they submit their report to the Arab League.

The second explosion occurred in Al-Midan quarter in Damascus January 6th 2012. Syrian Minister of Internal Affairs also accused the Qaida[4]; however, Syrian activists discarded this narration and accused the government of being involved in fabricating it. They substantiate their accusations with the live stream of the state’s official television; the television broadcasted videos which showed the security forces as planting evidence in the scene of the explosion. The cameraman of the state television was caught putting similar unharmed groceries bags supposed to be for the victims and security forces were throwing police tools inside a damaged police bus.[5]

The third major explosion was on March 17th 2012. It followed two explosions in Aleppo, a northern Syrian province, and it occurred “A day before a team of U.N. experts were due to begin a trip to Syria to discuss the possible deployment of international monitors, as part of efforts to curb deadly violence from the government’s crackdown on dissent.”[6] The timing of the third explosion does not represent any exception; it occurred in a time like ‘welcoming’ the UN team to give them the first impression.

The fourth major explosion, or series of explosions, occurred on April 27th. They hit several spots one of which was again in Al-Midan square at Zein al-Abidin Mosque, a major stronghold of the peaceful demonstrations. These explosions took place amidst amounting international criticism for the continuous violations for Annan’s six points plan. The latest report of Amnesty International states, “Amnesty International is particularly concerned by recent reports about violence intensifying in Syrian cities soon after visits by UN observers. The organization has received the names of 362 individuals reported to have been killed since UN observers began work in Syria on 16 April.” The Syrian opposition believes that the regime is behind this explosion to justify the oncoming violations of the plan. This belief was affirmed by the Ministry of the Internal Affairs as reported by the official Syrian Arab News Agency, SANA, announcing, “It will not tolerate the armed terrorist groups and vowed to strike with an iron fist those who are terrorizing citizens.”[7] This same “will not tolerate” and “iron fist” claimed the lives of 11.100 Syrian citizen and the number is on the rapid increase.[8]

In conclusions, where is the fact? Who is responsible for all these explosions? Is it the opposition linked to the Qaida, as the Syrian regime claims, or is it the regime as the opposition is proposing? It is entirely improbable to reach a final answer; however, the barring of any international media, and even assassinating journalists like Basil al-Said, Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik[9], discredits the regime’s narration that the opposition is responsible for the explosions. Has Syria really been fighting terrorists, would not it allow witnesses in instead of killing them? The question remains: who is responsible for the attacks? The next article is going to answer it and more.


Second Part

Noor Al-Deen Al-Dimashqi

Bonn, Germany

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78y058FHhAY&feature=related

[2] http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/dec/23/syria-blames-alqaida-bombs-damascus

[3] http://www.aawsat.com/details.asp?section=4&article=655939&issueno=12080

[4] http://www.sana.sy/eng/337/2012/01/06/392647.htm

[5] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2U2Kgu7K1I

[6] http://www.turkishweekly.net/news/132663/27-killed-as-two-explosions-rock-damascus.html

[7] http://www.sana.sy/eng/337/2012/04/27/415345.htm

[8] http://news.sky.com/home/world-news/article/16209665

[9] http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/feb/23/marie-colvin-journalists-targeted-syria



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