Damascus bombers attack Syria military HQ / BBC

The BBC’s Jim Muir says President Assad would have been able to hear the blasts from his nearby palace. 26.9.2012 – BBC – Rebels have targeted Syria’s army headquarters with two large bomb blasts in the centre of Damascus. Military officials said one of the bombs had caused damage to the main building of the General Staff. The anti-regime Free Syrian Army said they had carried out the attack and claimed dozens had been killed.

Gunfire reverberated around the city for hours after the bombings, as rebels fought with soldiers at the compound. Syrian state TV quoted a military source saying no senior personnel were harmed by the explosions, but some of the building’s guards were wounded. It said “terrorist attackers” had opened fire inside the perimeter of the compound and in nearby streets, and security forces had confronted them. The blasts happened just before 07:00 local time (04:00 GMT) in an area dominated by government buildings. Buildings more than 1km (half a mile) away shook violently under the force of the explosions.

The staff command compound represents the heart of the Syrian army, he says.And the attack comes days after the Free Syrian Army announced it had moved its command from Turkey to Syria in an apparent attempt to bolster its fight against regime forces.State television described the blasts, close to one of the city’s busiest areas at Umayyad Square, as a terrorist attack.Roads leading to the area were blocked off as the authorities dealt with the aftermath.Damascus resident Jean-Pierre Duthion told the BBC that his entire building shook and windows were shattered. “We all ran into the corridor, in the place without windows or anything, and we were just waiting until it stopped,” he said.