Suicide bombers strike Syrian army HQ, 4 guards killed
- BCCI says it can't control bookies, promises to 'fix' guilty players
- Counter-terrorism to top Indo-US Security dialogue agenda: Sushilkumar Shinde
- IPL 2013 LIVE SCORE: Pune Warriors bat, Ashok Dinda back
- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrives today, PM to seek early revival of border talks
- Telangana very much part of UPA national agenda: P C Chacko
Two suicide car bombers struck Syria's army command headquarters on Wednesday, killing four guards and engulfing a key symbol of President Bashar Assad's embattled regime in flames, state-run media and witnesses said.
The twin blasts were followed by several hours of gun battles between rebel fighters and regime forces in downtown Damascus. A reporter for an Iranian TV channel also was killed by gunfire near the clashes, and a correspondent for another Iranian station was wounded.
The brazen rebel attacks in the heart of the Syrian capital highlighted their determination to bring down Assad as the country's civil war intensifies.
Syria's unrest began in March 2011 when protests calling for political change met a violent government crackdown. Many in the opposition have since taken up arms as the conflict morphed into a civil war that activists say has killed nearly 30,000 people. Over the past few months, the rebels have increasingly targeted security sites and symbols of regime power in a bid to turn the tide in the fighting.
Rebels from the Free Syrian Army claimed responsibility for Wednesday's bombings.
The blasts went off about 10 minutes apart, starting around 7 am, near the landmark Omayyad Square. They were heard several miles away.
Syrian state TV aired what it said was security camera footage of the blasts. In the first, a white van is driving on the road outside the military headquarters, then veers to the right and explodes. The second blast goes off inside the compound, with flames rising from behind trees.
Later, the army command building is seen engulfed in flames that sent huge columns of thick black smoke over Damascus for several hours.
The explosions shattered the windows of the Dama Rose hotel and other nearby buildings, as well as windshields of parked cars. Footage by the Syrian TV channel Ikhbariya, also state-run, showed heavy damage inside the compound, with glass shards scattered across the floor and broken ceiling tiles.
- Quake-hit and shaken, Bhaderwah spends nights in the open
- UP blast accused dies on way to jail, govt wanted to drop case against him
- Former civil aviation secy changes mind, seeks airport security exemption as EC
- BCCI suspects Gujarat players in other teams were also approached
- Police on money trail, Sreesanth in fresh trouble
- Chhattisgarh 'encounter' leaves 8 villagers dead, no Maoist link yet