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Middle East

Suicide car bombing hits central Syrian town

Activists say 30 people are killed as a building used by pro-regime militiamen is targeted in Salamiyeh.
Last Modified: 22 Jan 2013 01:02
Syria's defence minister said on Monday the army would keep chasing rebels "until it achieves victory" [Reuters]

A deadly suicide car bombing has killed several people in the Syrian town of Salamiyeh, opposition activists and state media say.

Monday's bombing targeted a building used by pro-regime militiamen and killed more than 30 people, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

State news agency SANA also reported the blast, saying that "a terrorist suicide car bomb was detonated in the heart of Salamiyeh, leaving a number of people killed and others wounded".

The town, located in the central Hama province, has so far been relatively spared from the violence that has gripped the country since the uprising began in March, 2011.

The UK-based Observatory also reported a deadly powerful explosion in the Damascus neighbourhood of Dummar.

'Thwarts the conspiracy'

The blasts came as Syria's defence minister said that the army would keep chasing rebels all over the country "until it achieves victory and thwarts the conspiracy that Syria is being subjected to".

General Fahd Jassem al-Freij's comments came as activists reported air raids and shelling around the nation, including a helicopter raid in the northeastern town of Tabqa said to have killed eight people.

Meanwhile, Syrian opposition leaders meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, postponed forming a transitional government.

The Syrian National Coalition launched talks on Saturday in a second bid to form a government.

The 70-member coalition was formed with Western and Gulf backing in Qatar at the beginning of December. Power struggles among its members have undermined efforts to agree a transitional government.

A five-member committee would to put forward proposals on a government to the coalition within 10 days, it said on Monday.

The committee would "consult opposition forces and the Free Syrian Army and friendly states to get their opinion about forming the government and the extent to which they can honour the necessary commitments for its financial and political viability," the coalition said in a statement.

Sources at the negotiations in Istanbul said on Sunday that Syrian National Coalition President Moaz al-Khatib had flown to Qatar to secure promises of financial aid for a transitional government in rebel-held areas.

The talks had been hit by disagreement over whether a transitional government could survive when al-Khatib left in the middle of deliberations, the sources said.

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