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Twin Blasts Kill 40 In Syrian Capital

At least 40 people were killed and more than 150 injured in two powerful explosions that rocked the Syrian capital Damascus on Thursday, state media reported.

The twin blasts in quick succession during rush hour hit the capital city's Qazaz neighborhood that houses headquarters of the country's military intelligence.

"Two explosions caused by terrorists took place on the road in the south of Damascus," Syrian TV reported adding that the blasts occurred "as people were heading to work and children to school."

TV footage showed medical workers picking up mutilated human body parts scattered over a wide area where smoldering vehicles were also seen. According to Al Jazeera TV, the outer wall of the nine-storey building collapsed, although the structure inside appeared intact despite the powerful explosions which were heard all over Damascus.

Syrian TV aired footage showing dozens of mangled, burnt and smoldering vehicles, some containing incinerated human remains amid broken glass strewn all over the area. A large crater could be seen in the road and at least one truck was found overturned. Nearby schools were closed and children were sent home.

Major General Robert Mood, chief of the U.N. observer mission in Syria arrived the scene shortly after the blasts to assess the damage. "This is yet another example of the suffering brought upon the people of Syria from acts of violence," said the Norwegian General who escaped a blast in Deraa, a Damascus suburb, on Wednesday.

"We, the world community, are here with the Syrian people and I call on everyone within and outside Syria to help stop this violence," he said.

Responding to the Deraa attack, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad and the Opposition that there was only a "brief window" to avoid full-scale civil war and indicated the future of the ceasefire monitoring mission was in doubt.

Activists say nearly 12,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Syria since the revolt against the discredited Assad regime broke out 14 months ago.

Bashar al-Assad came to power in Syria eleven years ago after the death of his father Hafez al-Assad who ruled the Middle East country for more than three decades often suppressing dissent.

by RTT Staff Writer

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