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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Syria conflict: Damascus hit by deadly blast


Syria conflict: Damascus hit by deadly blast

Hijaz railway station, Damascus (6 November)Syria's state news agency Sana released this photo of the Hijaz railway station after Wednesday's deadly blast
At least seven people have been killed by a blast in the centre of the Syrian capital Damascus.
The Sana state news agency put the number of dead at eight, and said 50 were injured by the blast in Hijaz square. An activist group said 20 people were hurt.
No group has said it was behind the blast but Sana blamed it on "terrorists" - its term for rebels.
Syrian rebels have often attacked Damascus with bombs or mortars.
Last month, an explosion near Damascus airport cut off power to large parts of Syria.
Sana said Wednesday's attack had hit the offices of the railway company.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based activist group, said there were conflicting reports about whether it had been caused by a bomb or a mortar shell.
Aid needs rising
The explosion comes a day after the latest round of international diplomacy failed to fix a date for a long-delayed peace conference on the Syrian conflict.
The UN-Arab League envoy on Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, had hoped to hold the conference in Geneva this month.
But he said that after a day of meetings with senior diplomats he was not able to announce a date.
Mr Brahimi said he was still "striving" for a summit by the end of the year.
Attempts to set up a conference have been going on for months amid disputes over who should attend and its agenda.
Meanwhile, aid agencies have warned that more than nine million Syrians, almost half the population, are now in need of humanitarian relief.
The UN estimates that more than two million people have fled Syria since the unrest began in March 2011 resulting in a humanitarian crisis.
Most have sought refuge in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt.
More than 100,000 people are estimated to have been killed since the conflict began.