Skip to main content

Syrian: Damascus car bomb killed kids near playground

By Ashley Fantz and Salma Abdelaziz, CNN
updated 10:09 PM EDT, Fri October 26, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A car bomb explodes in Damascus, killing children, rebels say
  • Syrian army forces say they were attacked by rebels
  • The army is responding by firing back, state TV reports
  • The cease-fire is supposed to span the four-day Eid al-Adha holiday

(CNN) -- Mangled metal, puffs of smoke, chunks of concrete, blood and a crowd of people walking around dazed, shocked and crying. That was the scene on a Damascus street Friday after a car bomb exploded and killed several people. Some of the dead were reported to be children.

The blast seemed to mock the truce that the Syrian government and rebels agreed to abide by earlier this week. The truce, negotiated by the United Nations' special envoy to Syria, was supposed to last during Eid al-Adha, the four-day Muslim holiday that celebrates the end of the Hajj. A Syrian purportedly at the scene captured a video and posted it on YouTube.

CNN cannot verify that the footage is authentic, just like so many amateur videos shot during a war that foreign journalists have been blocked from covering.

Rebels said the blast went off near a playground.

This kind of violence isn't normal in a neighborhood such as Zouhr, a government-held stronghold. Zouhr has been generally quiet; there are still pockets in the capital city that have avoided chaos.

That explains why parents might believe that they could safely bring their kids to a playground to celebrate Eid. There's a mosque nearby, and it's customary to gather with family and pray to mark the holiday.

About 15 minutes after the blast, Syria security forces showed up and shot directly at someone filming the scene, a source who CNN has spoken with before inside Syria recounted. CNN is not naming her to protect her safety.

"The people were mad with grief, with rage," she said.

A small demonstration formed, as Syrians chanted against the Assad regime, she said.

They immediately blamed President Bashar al-Assad's forces for the bomb.

"The whole neighborhood came down to the street," she said.

"It is really outrageous. We are enraged! Kids! In a playground! The families were trying to take them out of the environment of death and blood for one day," she said. "For one day they were trying to make them forgot the bombs and the bullets that are surrounding us."

It's unclear who was behind the bombing.

Syrian state media blamed the blast on "terrorists," a line the government has used since the beginning of the movement against al-Assad began in March 2011. Officials have constantly argued that the government has a right to respond to "terrorist" attacks, including bombings, as well as "terrorists" trying to reinforce their positions.

In almost two years, more than 32,000 people have died in battles involving rebels and al-Assad's forces. There are also jihadist elements operating in Syria, CNN has reported.

A woman speaking for anti-government rebels blamed Syrian forces, and told CNN that most of the dead were children. Syrian state media reported that five people were killed and 32 wounded. Rebels said 10 were dead.

Because Syria has restricted the access of international journalists in the country, CNN can't confirm reports of violence.

Rebels said the blast occurred in a public square where families were celebrating Eid. Their spokeswoman was not at the scene but said she was receiving reports from those who were.

The car bomb was perhaps the worst of the reported violence, but there were other incidents. At least 103 people were killed around the nation Friday, according to opposition groups. Both sides accused the other of violating the cease-fire.

"We are, again, calling on both sides not just to talk the talk, but to walk the walk, and we have seen some violations on both sides," said U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.

Earlier in the capital, snipers fired from buildings. Soldiers shot protesters elsewhere in the country.

Video on YouTube purportedly shows men walking down a street in Damascus carrying guns. Constant gunfire can be heard as well as a man repeatedly saying "Allahu Akbar," or God is great.

CNN is unable to authenticate the footage.

The idea of a cease-fire was met with skepticism immediately after it was floated on Wednesday. Diplomats, experts in the region and rebels predicted that the agreement would fail.

They said Wednesday and Thursday that the effort would just be a repeat of a cease-fire failure in April.

Assad performs Eid prayers
Video reportedly shows bakery attack
In this photo provided by the anti-government activist group Aleppo Media Center, Syrian men help survivors out of a building in Aleppo after it was bombed, allegedly by a Syrian regime warplane on Saturday, February 8. The United Nations estimates more than 100,000 people have been killed since the Syrian conflict began in March 2011. Click through to see the most compelling images taken during the conflict, which is now a civil war: In this photo provided by the anti-government activist group Aleppo Media Center, Syrian men help survivors out of a building in Aleppo after it was bombed, allegedly by a Syrian regime warplane on Saturday, February 8. The United Nations estimates more than 100,000 people have been killed since the Syrian conflict began in March 2011. Click through to see the most compelling images taken during the conflict, which is now a civil war:
Syrian civil war in photos
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
Syrian civil war in photos Syrian civil war in photos
Annan: 'I cry everyday for the Syrians'

By sunrise Friday, thousands of people poured into the streets across Syria to protest against al-Assad.

Why region fears al-Assad's 'blackmail' in Beirut

Rebel groups reported these additional bouts of violence across the country:

At least three people were killed in tank and sniper fire in a Damascus suburb where government forces have been battling rebel forces on-and-off for control.

Fierce fighting broke out between government forces and the al Qaeda-linked al Nusra Front, which had said earlier it would not abide by the terms of the temporary truce.

The al Nusra fighters laid siege to a military encampment east of the city of Maaret al-Numan.

Government forces shelled a neighborhood in the flashpoint city of Homs where the opposition alleged six rockets fell, wounding two people and damaging a number of buildings. Video of the alleged destruction appeared on YouTube.

At least three people suffered gunshot wounds when Syrian forces fired shots in the air in an attempt to disperse protesters in the town of Inkhil in Dara province.

On the rebel side, a top Free Syrian Army general said Thursday his fighters had agreed to halt military operations if the Syrian government were to do so as well. But he said he doubted that the truce would hold.

Syria's rebel opposition is fractured, and Gen. Mustafa al-Sheikh said that some rebel groups have not agreed to halt operations.

The government, meanwhile, touted its several goodwill efforts Thursday leading to its announcement that it will stop fighting.

State-run TV aired footage of men walking out of a prison -- part of a government amnesty program, a commentator said.

The release came a week after rebel fighters told Al Jazeera news agency that they would agree to a proposed cease-fire only if the government were to release detainees, end a siege in the city of Homs and halt aerial attacks.

CNN's Chelsea J. Carter and Hamdi Alkhshali contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Syrian crisis
updated 10:48 AM EDT, Tue September 9, 2014
As a 10-year-old, this boy first hit the headlines in 1982 when he saved his cat from a fire. This year, he was reported to be a suicide bomber.
updated 2:03 PM EDT, Fri September 5, 2014
Aqsa Mahmood,19, would listen to Coldplay and read Harry Potter books. Then this Glasgow girl became an ISIS bride.
updated 4:23 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
The little boy looks barely old enough to walk, let alone understand the dark world he's now inhabiting.
updated 12:22 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
ISIS has released video of the aftermath of a mass execution. Another video shows alleged captured Peshmerga soldiers.
updated 5:33 AM EDT, Sat August 30, 2014
The number of people who have fled Syria and registered as refugees amid the country's civil war will surpass 3 million Friday.
updated 2:49 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Douglas McAuthur McCain, 33, grew up in the Minneapolis area, but died more than 6,000 miles away in Syria, fighting for ISIS.
updated 4:54 PM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
If the United States is serious about thoroughly defeating ISIS, it must, somehow, go through Syria.
updated 8:43 AM EDT, Thu June 26, 2014
Jihadists have kidnapped over 140 Kurdish boys to "brainwash" them. But a few boys made a daring escape.
updated 8:48 AM EDT, Thu June 26, 2014
Reports that Syrian warplanes carried out a cross-border attack on Iraqi towns is further evidence of the blurring of the two countries' borders.
updated 5:33 PM EDT, Tue June 24, 2014
CNN's Atika Shubert speaks to a father whose teenage son joined the Jihad movement in Syria.
updated 7:41 AM EDT, Mon June 23, 2014
At the start of Syria's civil unrest, Omar would rally against the government alongside his schoolmates, later taking to the streets in his hometown of Salqin.
updated 5:17 PM EDT, Mon June 23, 2014
Atika Shubert looks at the rise of European jihadists traveling to Syria and whether they soon could join ISIS in Iraq.
updated 10:53 AM EDT, Mon June 23, 2014
The final stockpile of Syria's chemical weapons has been shipped out of the country, according to the OPCW, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
updated 4:25 PM EDT, Wed June 25, 2014
The US isn't doing airstrikes in Iraq. Is there a vacuum for Syria and Iran to step in? CNN's Fareed Zakaria weighs in.
updated 4:04 AM EDT, Tue June 10, 2014
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reports on Syrian rebels using underground explosions against the better-equipped regime.
updated 7:51 AM EDT, Mon June 9, 2014
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh returns to the besieged rebel areas of Aleppo, a pale skeleton of a city that has had the life bombed out of it.
updated 7:51 AM EDT, Mon June 2, 2014
Syria may be embroiled in a brutal three-year civil war, but that's not stopping the government from holding presidential elections.
updated 7:23 AM EDT, Tue June 3, 2014
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh meets an ISIS defector in hiding and gets a rare look into the group's recruitment process.
updated 12:10 PM EDT, Thu June 5, 2014
Over a thousand Syrian refugees have turned an abandoned shopping mall in Lebanon into makeshift living quarters.
updated 2:45 PM EDT, Sat September 20, 2014
More than 100,000 people reportedly have been killed in Syria since a popular uprising in 2011 spiraled into a civil war.
ADVERTISEMENT