World / Middle East

Violence continues to rattle Syria

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-11-01 08:53

DAMASCUS - Explosions and other chaotic incidents continued to rattle Syrian Wednesday, most notably in the capital Damascus that has been hit with at least three explosions that killed at least 12 people.

The first blast rocked Damascus earlier on Wednesday, when an explosive device went off near a Shiite holy shrine in Saida Zainab suburb and killed 11 people.

Hours later, a mortar shell also struck a residential bloc in Saida Zainab and left unidentified number of casualties.

The attacks on Saida Zainab, a southern sprawling suburb dominated by Shiite people, highlight the widening gap between the sects in the Syrian society.

As the 19-month-old conflict in Syria drags on, sectarian hatred has been gaining momentum between the majority Sunnis, who make up the backbone of the anti-government movement, and the Alawitte sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, to whom Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the ruling elite belong.

With high sectarian tension, reports have emerged talking about the flow of thousands of foreign Jihadists into Syria to join the fight against the Syrian administration.

Also on Wednesday, a car bomb blasted in al-Muadamieh suburb of Damascus, leaving undisclosed number of casualties, the state- media said.

Later in the evening, an explosive device rocked the Damascus' district of al-Mazzeh near al-Huda mosque, the state-TV said, setting the initial death toll at one person in addition to property damages.

The explosions, particularly in Damascus, have become increasingly common lately. The government blames al-Qaida-linked fighters of using the bombing tactics in their fight against the administration.

Meanwhile, opposition activists have reported clashes and bombardment by Syrian troops on many hotspots nationwide Wednesday. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that as many as 130 people had been killed in the day, 55 of whom were civilians. Yet, the activists' accounts could not be checked independently.

As the violence grinds on, the UN-Arab LeagueJoint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi continued his efforts -- this time from China, in the hope of bringing the protracted Syrian crisis to a close.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on Wednesday elaborated China's new four-point proposal on a political resolution to the Syrian conflict, urging all parties in Syria to cease fire and violence and begin political transition at an early date.

The four-point proposal circulates mainly on the need that the relevant parties should cooperate with Brahimi to achieve a cessation of violence as a prelude for a safe and calm transition with preserving the governmental institutions in Syria.

The Syrian dilemma has become the focus of the international community, given the geopolitical importance of Syria and the immense danger of a spillover of Syria's crisis to neighboring countries.

More than 20,000 people, mostly civilians, have reportedly died in Syria since the country's crisis began some 20 months ago. A further 2.5 million Syrians urgently need humanitarian aid, and over 340,000 have crossed the border to neighboring countries like Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq, according to UN estimates.

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