Damascus Blast Kills 10

Explosion in Christian area comes as UN envoy visits
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 21, 2012 5:52 AM CDT
A man carries the Syrian revolutionary flag as well as a Lebanese flag, as people gather in Martyrs' Square for the funeral of Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hassan in Beirut, Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012.   (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)
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(Newser) – An explosion hit the Old City of Damascus today, killing at least 10 people and wounding dozens of other civilians, Syrian activists said. It came as President Bashar al-Assad discussed the civil war in his country with visiting UN peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi. The blast targeted a police station in the Christian-heavy Bab Touma neighborhood, and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported the death toll. It said it was not immediately clear if the victims were civilians or policemen.

Brahimi, who represents the UN and the Arab League, met with Assad in another part of the capital. Brahimi has appealed for a truce between Assad's forces and rebels for the four-day Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, which begins Friday. A range of countries including Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Germany have thrown their support behind the idea, but neither the Syrian government nor the rebels have signed on. Brahimi met Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem yesterday. A Foreign Ministry statement released after the meeting did not mention the proposed truce, but said the two sides discussed "objective and rational circumstances to stop the violence from any side in order to prepare for a comprehensive dialogue among the Syrians." The blast comes as thousands in Beirut gather for the funeral of an official whose death was linked to Syria. (Read more Syria stories.)

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