Damascus was hit by the deadliest attack in 14 months: twin suicide car-bombs that killed at least 55 people and wounded nearly 400. Reports on local TV showed damaged buildings, cars and human remains, referring to the attacks as ‘staged by terrorists funded from abroad’. The UN Security Council strictly condemned the blasts, demanding the opposing sides to observe a ceasefire signed on April 12. The attacks rocked Damascus right when the country was anticipating the results of the Monday parliamentary vote.
On Wednesday ten Syrian soldiers were wounded in a roadside bomb attack on their convoy as they escorted UN peace observers in the southern city of Dara`a. Renewed attacks in Syria are blamed on the opposition groups which do not accept a peace plan suggested by the UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, says expert Aleksei Podtserov of the Russian Institute of Middle Eastern Studies:
"The opposition is very interested in undermining all efforts made by UN and Arab League observers in the field of peaceful settlement. Syrian Salafites do not even conceal this, saying that they would fight till the final victory. They want a large-scale military campaign, hoping to seize a city like Homs or Hama to proclaim it a revolutionary stronghold, like it was in Libya’s Benghazi, and later ask Turkey or the West for help. Meanwhile, the truce is active, and the government has been doing a lot to observe it, although it is guilty of some of the reported violations."
Up to 800 people have been killed since the ceasefire came into force, and the total number of deaths already stands at 12,000. The UN warns of threat of a civil war unless all opportunities are used to stop violence. Nevertheless, reasons are still lacking for such a war in Syria to take place, experts at the Institute of Middle Eastern Studies Boris Dolgov says…
"Anti-government groups are being supported from abroad – Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and the Gulf states, making it a major obstacle to peace in Syria. Otherwise, the opposition would have been long suppressed. Most Syrians support Bashar Assad, and this fact is accepted by foreign experts, too. Extremists are a minority. A civil war in Syria can only be imposed from within."
The Free Syrian Army leader Col. Riad al-Asaad admits that he's been anticipating fights against government forces. Shortly after the Thursday blasts he promised to immediately resume fighting if Kofi Annan admitted his peace plan's failure.
Mr. Annan, however, seems to have different plans. During his second visit to Syria in the coming weeks he is going to inspect the work of UN peace observers, whose number is said to be increased by 300 later this month. The Western media say that the current presence of 113 observers has already proved effective. It means that chances to extend the ceasefire will be on the rise. It should also be considered that Syria has made an important step towards settling a political crisis: it's been the first time in many years that the country held multi-party elections. Some Russian experts believe that a delay in announcing Monday's poll results was due to a technical problems. Local election commissions are new to counting votes in multi-party elections. Besides, violations were reported in some districts and towns, which required a runoff.