Syria refutes Turkish blame for car bombs

Turkish FM: Assad regime behind attack; Nine Turks detained in connection to blast; Iran, US condemn violence.

By REUTERS
May 12, 2013 13:20
2 minute read.
Officials work on one of the scenes of the twin car bomb attacks in the town of Reyhanli.

car bomb in turkey 370. (photo credit: reuters)

 
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Syria denied Turkish accusations on Sunday that it had a hand in twin car bombings that killed 46 people in the Turkish border town of Reyhanli on Saturday.

"Syria did not and will never do such a act because our values do not allow this. It is not anyone's right to hurl unfounded accusations," Syrian Information Minister Omran Zubi was quoted as saying on state media.

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Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Sunday that he believed fighters loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad were behind twin car bombings that killed more than 40 people in the Turkish border town of Reyhanli on Saturday.

Interior Minister Muammer Guler, who was also speaking on Turkish television, said the attacks on Saturday were carried out by a group known to the Turkish authorities and with direct links to Syria's Mukhabarat intelligence agency.

"The attack has nothing to do with the Syrian refugees in Turkey, it's got everything to do with the Syrian regime," Davutoglu said in an interview on Turkey's TRT television.

Turkish authorities had detained nine Turkish citizens including the alleged mastermind, after the bombings, deputy prime minister Besir Atalay said on Sunday.

He said those behind Saturday's bombings were believed also to have been behind an attack on the Syrian coastal town of Banias a week ago, in which fighters backing Assad in a civil war were reported to have killed at least 62 people.

The bombs ripped into crowded streets in the early afternoon in Reyhanli, scattering cars and concrete blocks in the town in Turkey's southern Hatay province, home to thousands of Syrian refugees.




 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
 


Iran condemned the bombings as a barbaric terrorist act, Fars new agency reported Sunday.

"This incident is a brutal terrorist crime and such crimes that target ordinary people are condemned wherever they occur," Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister, Abbas Araqchi was quoted as saying on Saturday by Fars, "We hope that terrorism is uprooted in all countries in the region and the world through cooperation among governments," he added.

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The United States strongly condemned the twin bombings and vowed solidarity with Turkey in identifying those responsible.

US Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the car bombings saying in a written statement that the US stood with its ally Turkey.

The bombing increased fears that Syria's civil war was dragging in neighboring states despite renewed diplomatic moves towards ending fighting in which more than 70,000 people have been killed.

The Syrian conflict, now in its third year, has inflamed a confrontation between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims in the Middle East, with Shi'ite Iran supporting Assad, and Sunni powers like Saudi Arabia backing the rebels.

JPost.com staff contributed to this report.

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