Bomb Kills 27 in Syria as Some Kidnapped Aid Workers Freed

Monday, 14 Oct 2013 12:29 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

DAMASCUS, Syria — A car bomb killed at least 27 people in a rebel-held area of northwestern Syria on Monday as suspected jihadists freed four out of seven aid workers kidnapped in the increasingly volatile region.

The bombing and Sunday's kidnapping — both carried out in Idlib province, where rebels hold vast swaths of territory — underscored the descent into chaos in several rebel-held areas, which have seen a recent spate of internal clashes, kidnappings, and other attacks.

The United States meanwhile stepped up its calls for a peace conference between President Bashar al-Assad's regime and the increasingly divided rebels, talks rejected by a leading faction of the Western-backed opposition.

The blast in the town of Darkush killed at least three children, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, adding that the death toll could rise because many of the wounded were in serious condition.

Activists said the blast targeted the market area of the town, which is a few kilometers (a couple of miles) from the border with Turkey, on the Orontes river.

Four of the kidnapped aid workers were meanwhile freed "safe and sound" on Monday, Red Cross spokesman Ewan Watson told AFP, adding that the group was awaiting further information about the others.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights said the six members of the International Committee of the Red Cross and a member of the Syrian Red Crescent were kidnapped by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), an al-Qaida-linked rebel group.

The ICRC has not commented on the nationality of those abducted, though it had earlier said that most of the group were Syrian. There has been no claim of responsibility.

Rebels control large swathes of Idlib, and kidnappings have become increasingly common in rebel-held parts of Syria, targeting both journalists and aid workers.

The Red Cross, a rare aid group working on both sides of the conflict, said the team had traveled to Idlib on October 10 to assess the situation at health facilities and deliver aid.

"We don't have any intention of stopping our activities in Syria, but of course this situation makes us reflect and take a close look at our operations," Watson had earlier told Swiss radio.

On the political front, the United States said there was an "urgent" need to set a date for so-called Geneva 2 peace talks, despite the rejection of the process this week by a leading opposition group.

"We believe that it is urgent to set a date to convene the conference and work toward a new Syria," Secretary of State John Kerry said after meeting U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi in London.

"There has to be a transition government," he said. "This will require all the parties to come together in good faith."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had earlier called on Washington to bring the Syrian opposition to the talks proposed for mid-November.

The call came a day after the Syrian National Council (SNC) — a key component of the National Coalition recognized by most Arab and Western governments — ruled out attending any Geneva peace talks, and said it would quit the umbrella group if it participated.

Washington threatened military strikes in response to August 21 sarin gas attacks in the Damascus suburbs that killed hundreds of people, but the punitive action was averted by a US-Russian deal under which Syria is turning over its chemical arsenal for destruction.

SNC chief George Sabra said his group would boycott the Geneva talks because the international community had failed to punish the gas attack or address the plight of civilians in neighborhoods besieged by regime troops.

On Sunday, the ICRC said it and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) had evacuated 3,500 people from one such Damascus neighborhood, Moadamiyet al-Sham, over 24 hours.

Most were women and children "in a state of major fatigue and were very scared," SARC head of operations Khaled Erksoussi told AFP.

Moadamiyet al-Sham was targeted in the August 21 sarin attack, which the opposition and Western governments blame on Damascus. Assad has denied his forces were responsible.

Experts sent by the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have begun verifying and destroying Syria's chemical arsenal.

The joint team of 60 experts and support staff have been in Syria since October 1, carrying out the terms of a Security Council resolution enshrining the U.S.-Russian deal.

© AFP 2014

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

In Iraq's Mosul, Radicals Unleash Their Vision

Tuesday, 29 Jul 2014 10:10 AM

Residents of Mosul have watched helplessly as extremists ruling the northern Iraqi city blew up some of their most belov . . .

Clashes Kill 30 in Benghazi in Escalating Libya Turmoil

Tuesday, 29 Jul 2014 09:47 AM

Libyan forces on Tuesday battled Islamist militants with rockets and warplanes for control of an army base in the easter . . .

Iraq Wins US Order Seizing Kurdish Oil Off Texas

Tuesday, 29 Jul 2014 09:44 AM

The Iraqi Oil Ministry persuaded a U.S. judge to issue an order for the seizure of more than $100 million of oil in a ta . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved