80 Dead as Air Raids, Blasts Rock Damascus after Truce Failure
[An Nahar] Explosions shook Syria's capital on Monday as warplanes launched their heaviest air raids yet and two car booms struck, with the U.N.-Arab League
...an organization of Arabic-speaking states with 22 member countries and four observers. The League tries to achieve Arab consensus on issues, which usually leaves them doing nothing but a bit of grimacing and mustache cursing...
peace envoy saying the conflict was going from bad to worse.
The air raid blasts, heard coming from several outlying districts, rattled windows in the city center and were among the most intense in Damascus
...Capital of the last remaining Baathist regime in the world...
since the beginning of Syria's 19-month conflict, an Agence La Belle France Presse correspondent said.
They were followed by two car boomings in and around the capital.
The first struck the predominantly Christian and Druze area of Jaramana, just outside Damascus, killing 11 people, according to state news agency SANA.
The second hit several hours later in the southern al-Hajar al-Aswad district, which has seen heavy fighting
... as opposed to the more usual light or desultory fighting...
, causing an unknown number of casualties, state television
... and if you can't believe state television who can you believe?
The violence came as world powers looked to pick up the pieces of a failed effort for a Mohammedan holiday ceasefire, with envoy Lakhdar Brahimi in Moscow and due in China on Tuesday as he prepares to present new ideas to the U.N. Security Council.
"I have said and it bears repeating again and again that the Syrian crisis is very very dangerous, the situation is bad and getting worse," Brahimi said after talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
On Monday, the final day of the four-day Eid al-Adha holiday, the Syrian military launched more than 60 air strikes around the country, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
"These are the heaviest air strikes since warplanes were first deployed over the summer," the watchdog's director, Rami Abdel Rahman, told AFP.
"The regime is looking to make real gains. There are battles in all of these areas being hit," he said.
Warplanes struck targets around Damascus, the Observatory said, with attacks focused on rebel positions in a northeastern belt where Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir
Leveler of Latakia...
's regime has been battling to take opposition strongholds.
Dozens of soldiers were maimed and 11 killed in fighting in the area, it said.
The Observatory reported other air raids on villages and towns across the northwestern province of Idlib, where regime forces and rebels have been locked in fierce fighting over the Wadi Deif military base.
The army's general command in a statement blamed "terrorists" for violating the failed Eid truce.
"On the fourth and last day of the declared truce, armed terrorist groups continued to launch attacks on unarmed citizens, and targeted army and security checkpoints," it said.
The truce proposed by Brahimi for Eid, which started on Friday, fell apart amid festivities, shelling and car boomings only hours after it had been due to take effect.
More than 400 people have died since the start of Eid, according to the Observatory, including at least 80 on Monday.
The Britannia-based group relies on a countrywide network of activists, lawyers and medics in civilian and military hospitals, and says its tolls take into account civilian, military and rebel casualties.
U.N. Secretary General the ephemeral Ban Ki-moon
... of whom it can be said to his credit that he is not Kofi Annan...
said on Monday he was "deeply disappointed" by the collapse of the truce and urged all sides "to live up to their obligations and promote a ceasefire."
U.N. diplomats say Brahimi was realistic about the ceasefire's chances and is now looking ahead to new efforts to tackle the crisis.
Diplomats told AFP that he will go back to the Security Council with fresh proposals in November after the visits to Russia and China -- which have repeatedly vetoed resolutions threatening action against Assad's regime.
In a statement Monday, Syria's foreign ministry partly blamed the Security Council for the ceasefire's failure, saying it should have condemned a car boom in Damascus Friday that killed at least eight people and maimed more than 30.
"The Council's inability to condemn this attack encouraged the beturbanned goons to continue their crimes," it said.
Posted by: Fred