305 killed in bloodiest day of Syrian conflict
28 September, 2012
DAMASCUS: More than 305 people were killed in the bloodiest day of Syria's 18-month revolt, a rights group said on Thursday, as Washington urged action from the "paralysed" UN Security Council.
The UN refugee agency, meanwhile, warned that as many as 700,000 Syrian refugees could flee the war-torn nation by the end of 2012 as it stepped up calls for emergency funding.
As fighting raged in several parts of Syria, unidentified attackers blew up an oil pipeline in the northeast province of Hasaka, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
It was the deadliest day of the Syrian conflict as more than 305 people died across the country, including 14 in twin bomb attack against the headquarters of the armed forces in the heart of Damascus, the Observatory said. It said 199 of the dead were civilians. "This is the highest toll in a single day since March 2011. And this is only counting those whose names have been documented. If we count the unidentified bodies, the figure will be much higher," said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.
The previous highest death toll of the uprising was on July 19, when 302 people were killed, according to the Britain-based watchdog.
More than 30,000 people have been killed overall in violence since the March 2011 outbreak of the revolt against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad, in a toll compiled by the Observatory.
A rebel group said its men carried out the bombings against the headquarters of the regime's armed forces, and five of its fighters, including a suicide bomber, died during the assault. Its claim was impossible to verify.
All senior commanders and other officers escaped injury in the attack on army headquarters, the military said.
A spokesman for the Free Syrian Army's Military Council in Damascus, Ahmed al-Khatib, said the attack was staged with two car bombs.
Syria's military also said the "terrorist explosions around and inside the army headquarters were caused by two car bombs driven by suicide attackers."
It was the biggest attack on the security apparatus since a July 18 suicide bombing against a heavily guarded headquarters in Damascus killed four top regime officials, including defence minister General Daoud Rajha and Assad's brother-in-law, Assef Shawkat.
In Aleppo city, troops pummelled the southwest district of Kalasseh and the eastern district of Sakhur and nearby Suleiman al-Halabi street, leaving an unknown number of casualties, said the Observatory.
Fighting was also reported in Homs, Hama city, the coastal province of Latakia and the eastern province of Deir Ezzor. At least five people were killed on Thursday, including a child shot dead by a sniper in Hama city. UNHCR chief coordinator for Syrian refugees Panes Moumtzsis on Thursday stepped up calls for emergency aid to refugees.
"There may be up to 700,000 Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries by the end of the year," Moumtzsis told reporters in Geneva. "We are running out of time."
Faced with the soaring need for aid, humanitarian agencies upped their call for funds to $487.9 million to sustain operations until the end of the year. At present, only $141.5 million in funding is available.