Blast in Damascus, regime forces accused of crimes against humanity
A car bomb exploded Thursday morning in the Sayyeda Zaynab quarter in Damascus, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), adding that the violence continued elsewhere in the country, particularly in the southern city of Deraa. Hundreds of thousands of Shiite pilgrims, including Iranians and Lebanese, go every year on pilgrimage to the shrine of Zaynab, sister of Imam Hussein, in south of Damascus.
Elsewhere, the violence continued across the country where at least 77 people were killed Wednesday, including 49 civilians, 21 soldiers and seven rebels, according to SOHR.
In the city of Deraa, two civilians were killed Thursday morning during shelling by government forces in the neighborhood of Tariq El-Sad, besieged by the army. In the province of Deraa, fighting between the troops of and rebel fighters continues in several towns.
In the province of Homs , Ahmad Bahbouh, a local military leader of the rebels in the city of Rastane, was killed at night during heavy fighting, said the SOHR.
Government forces in recent days have been trying to regain rebel strongholds with heavy bombing aon Haffé, where after eight days of bombing, the army took control of this town in the coastal province of Latakia close Qerdaha, which is the birthplace of Assad family.
Meanwhile, the forces of President Bashar al-Assad have committed massacres of civilians that are similar to crimes against humanity, Amnesty International claimed Thursday in a report based on evidence gathered in Syria itself. Amnesty requests the UN Security Council to declare an arms embargo on Syria.
Investigators from this human right organization visited in April and May, without governmental authorization, in 23 towns and villages located in the provinces of Aleppo and Idlib. They interviewed over 200 people, many of whom have lost their loved ones or had their homes destroyed by the regime. Their findings are contained in a 70-page report.
Donatella Rovera, an Advisor of Amnesty, said members of the organization have found examples of frequent violence against civilians during this visit. "Everywhere I went, in every town, every village, local described scenes very similar: the soldiers arriving in large numbers, for very short and very violent incursions during which they carry out executions young men and set fire to their houses. Those they arrest are then tortured in detention, "she told Reuters TV. "And it was repeated really in every town and village where I went (...) Most of the overwhelming majority of the atrocities are committed by government security forces and paramilitaries,", she added.