Blasts in Damascus highlight futility of UN peace plan
Government sources say 5 Syrians were killed in two bomb blasts that rocked the capital - including one bomb that went off near an anti-government demonstration.
Syrian state media say at least two huge explosions rocked central Damascus on Friday, leaving at least five people dead, as international concerns mount over Syria's deteriorating cease-fire.
Activists say one blast took place near a mosque where anti-government protesters gathered after Friday prayers. The government blamed "terrorists" for what it called a suicide bombing.
Earlier, there was an explosion in a nearby industrial zone.
The blasts come amid blistering criticism of Syria by the U.S., top U.N. officials and the European Union. They say the Syrian government is failing to uphold terms of an international cease-fire that went into effect earlier this month.
Mass anti-government protests were expected after Friday prayers in several other cities.
United Nations monitors again deployed to hot spots of violence between government forces and rebels on Friday. But the U.N. mission has been building slowly. U.N. Spokesman Ne'er Singh said more monitors are on the way.
"We are expecting more monitors to arrive today and as and when I have confirmation I'll be able to inform you. We are total of fifteen as of now. I'm just waiting for confirmation of further numbers and I can give you an update," said Singh.
A spokesman for international envoy Kofi Annan told Reuters Friday that another 15 members of the advance team should arrive by Monday. He also defended the speed in which authorities are deploying personnel, saying the process was moving with "remarkable speed."
At this rate, the 300 monitors will be fully deployed in about 3 years. So much for "remarkable speed."
It won't matter because Assad is carrying out attacks right under the noses of the monitors. More than 70 Syrian civilians were killed yesterday when a huge blast in Hama - possibly a rebel bomb making facility - exploded. This is after further casualties were reported in Homs.
What good unarmed UN monitors can do in this situation is unknown. But casualties among the monitors is very possible which would just about finish the project if that were to occur.