TWO POWERFUL BLASTS ROCK SYRIAN CAPITAL
- Two powerful blasts in quick succession rocked the Syrian capital early on Thursday, May 10, sending plumes of smoke billowing into the sky and rattling windows of buildings, AFP reported.
It was not immediately clear what caused the explosions. Damascus has been the target of a number of bombs in past months as President Bashar al-Assad faces a revolt against his regime which his forces are attempting to crush.
The blasts came a day after a bomb attack on a UN observer convoy in the southern city of Daraa, which injured six Syrian troops escorting the vehicles.
Responding to the Daraa attack, UN leader Ban Ki-moon warned Syria's government and opposition there is only a "brief window" to avoid civil war and indicated the future of the ceasefire monitoring mission was in doubt.
Highlighting an "alarming upsurge" of roadside bombs, alongside government attacks, Ban said both sides "must realize that we have a brief window to stop the violence, a brief opportunity to create an opening for political engagement between the government and those seeking change."
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says that almost 12,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Syria since the revolt, inspired by Arab Spring uprisings, broke out in March last year.
About 800 of them have died since a UN-backed truce was supposed to have taken effect on April 12.
Damascus was hit by two blasts on May 6, with three soldiers wounded in one of the attacks. Television footage showed a mangled car destroyed by one of the explosions.
A deadly suicide bombing at Zein al-Abidin mosque in the capital's central Midan district on April 27 killed 11 people and wounded dozens, according to state media.
An Islamist group calling itself Al-Nusra Front had earlier claimed responsibility for a deadly suicide bombing on April 20 near the Syrian city of Hama that targeted a restaurant used by the security forces.
The Syrian authorities regularly blame the blasts on "terrorist groups" they say are behind the violence that has swept the country for the past 14 months.
The opposition accuses regime forces of being behind the bombings in an attempt to discredit protesters demanding the ouster of Assad.
- 1804 Mamed Khan of Yerevan, knowing of the Russian force's progress, orders the migration (for the duration of the war) of about 20000 Armenians from the Khanate of Yerevan to Ghars.
- 1810 Birth of Gabriel Aivazovski in Feodosia (Ukraine). He died in 1880 in Tbilissi (Georgia).
- 1838 Birth of Viscount James Bryce (statesman). He served under Prime Minister William Gladstone. He was a founder of the League of Nations. He wrote on jurisprudence and political science. He vociferously condemned the Armenian Genocide by the Turkish government. He died in 1922.
- 1848 The Lazaryan College (Moscow) becomes the Institute of Western Languages.
- 1855 The Sultan orders, for the first time, the draft for the Christians in Turkey. The order was ineffective.
- 1920 Armenia's Revolutionary Military Committee in Alexandropol and proclaims the establishment of Soviet power in Armenia.
- 1923 Birth of Heydar Aliev, First Secretary of the Communist Party in Azerbaijan, Head of the Azeri Turk subdivision of the Soviet KGB, Member of the USSR Politbureau, and Head of Atheistic Propaganda under the Soviet regime. Committed Genocide against the Armenians of Nakhitshevan and Artsakh. Took over the presidency of Azerbaijan in 1993.
- 1941 The Ten-day Festival of Armenian Literature starts in Moscow (Russia).
- 1943 Garegeen the First (Hovsepyants) is anointed Catholicos of Cilicia in Antilias' Cathedral.