By Naila Missous
At least 25 people are dead and dozens more injured after a suicide attack took place in a crowded district in central Damascus today.
It was the second attack on the Syrian capital in only two weeks. The attack was carried out this morning in a busy section of the Midan neighbourhood.
Syrian TV broadcasts have described the blast as “a powerful explosion” in an area that seemed a reasonably peaceful part of Syria during the outburst in the country and the political instability from Al-Assad.
It is said that civilians and security force personnel had been killed and wounded.
The Syrian state news agency, SANA, said the attacks “had the fingerprints of al-Qaeda all over them” and cast them as another escalation in what the government has consistently described as an armed uprising by Islamists funded from abroad.
The attacks have come prior to the weekly protests that seem to have gathered increased momentum since the arrival of an observer mission from the Arab League in December.
Many protesters have expressed anger that the mission did little to stem the bloodshed and the demonstrations were expected to call for the Arab League to shift responsibility for the monitoring of human rights violations to the United Nations.
State media are blaming “terrorists” for the attack, with demonstrators calling for the Arab League peace observers to turn over their mission to the United Nations urgently.