'Suicide bomber kills 2 in Syrian town of Deraa'

Several wounded in southern town after "terrorist explosion," Syrian state news agency reports; opposition activists deny explosion caused by bomber; ICRC: Still no Syria aid convoy access to Baba Amro.

By REUTERS
March 3, 2012 12:09
2 minute read.
Smoke rising over Syrian city [file]

Smoke rising in Hama, Syria 390. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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A suicide bomber killed two people and wounded several others in the southern Syrian town of Deraa on Saturday, the Syrian state news agency Sana said.

"The terrorist explosion led to the martyrdom of two citizens," the agency said.

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Opposition activists denied that the explosion was caused by a bomber but did not give an explanation for the reported attack.

Also on Saturday, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said it was still negotiating with Syrian authorities who have denied its aid convoy access to the shattered Baba Amro district of Homs.

An ICRC convoy of seven trucks carrying food and other relief supplies, joined by Red Crescent ambulances to evacuate the sick and wounded, has been stalled in Homs since arriving there on Friday.

"The ICRC and Syrian Red Crescent are not yet in Baba Amro today [Saturday]. We are still in negotiations with authorities in order to enter Baba Amro. It is important that we enter today," ICRC spokesman Hicham Hassan told Reuters in Geneva.

On Thursday, Syrian authorities gave the independent agency "positive signals" regarding the ICRC's proposal for a daily two-hour humanitarian ceasefire across Syria, he said. "It is still important that we implement this initiative urgently".

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday expressed concern about "grisly reports" that Syrian government forces were arbitrarily executing, imprisoning and torturing people in the battle-scarred city of Homs, allegations Damascus sharply rejected.

"The Syrian government has failed to deliver on its responsibility to protect its people," Ban told the 193-nation UN General Assembly. "Civilian populations are under military assault in several cities."

"A major assault on Homs took place yesterday," he said. "Civilian losses have clearly been heavy. We continue to receive grisly reports of summary executions, arbitrary detentions and torture."

Syria's UN Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari took to the podium to respond to Ban, telling the assembly that Ban's remarks included "extremely virulent rhetoric which confines itself to slandering a government based on reports, opinions or hearsay."

Ja'afari said the false allegations "come from the opposition or from people who are abroad or people who are living in countries which are open enemies of Syria."

"The secretary-general is not duly informed," he added, reiterating that the Syrian opposition consisted of "armed terrorist groups."

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