Syrian opposition leader released as car bomb kills seven in Homs
Syrian security forces released a regime-tolerated opposition member Sunday while a car bomb in Homs killed 7, according to Agence France-Presse.
Monzer Khaddam, a prominent member of the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change (NCBDC) "was released" Sunday after he was detained Saturday at a Tartus miltary checkpoint.
NCBDC leader Hassan Abdel Azim told AFP that Khaddam was released due to pressure from Russia and other international groups ahead of peace talks in Switzerland in January. UN Arab League Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi also publicly discussed NCBDC detentions during a meeting in Geneva Friday, which may have also influenced the regime's decision to release Khaddam.
However, other members of the so-called tolerated opposition group, such as the group's secretary general Raja Nasser, have been arrested in recent weeks and are still in detention. Others, like Abdel Aziz Khair, who was arrested in September 2012, have dissappeared entirely.
As Khaddam was released from detention, a car bomb detonated in Syria's central province of Homs killing seven. Five of the dead were schoolchildren.
According to Syria's state news agency, rebels detonated the car bomb in the town of Omm Al Amd outside of the main city.
Over 500,000 people have been wounded in Syria's 33-month civil war thus far, according to a report released Sunday by the International Committee of the Red Cross.