Huge explosion rocks Damascus

Syria map

FINAL UPDATE

A blast near Syria’s interior ministry has rocked the central Damascus district of Marjeh killing 13 people, state television said, just a day after the country’s prime minister survived a car bomb attack.

“Terrorist explosion in Marjeh district of Damascus and preliminary information on casualties,” state television reported on Tuesday.

The death toll was confirmed by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based watchdog.

“At least five citizens were killed in a car bomb near the back door of the old interior ministry building in the Marjeh district,” the group said in a statement, warning that the number of casualties was expected to rise.

On Monday a “terrorist” explosion that targeted Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi’s envoy in central Damascus damaged cars and caused casualties, state media reported.

The car bomb, which exploded as his convoy passed through the al-Mazzeh upscale neighbourhood, killed one of his bodyguards and five other people, according to the Observatory.

The SOHR said the blast was caused by a car bomb that detonated by the building’s back door, adding that there were dead and wounded after the explosion.

Damascus has seen a wave of major bombings in recent weeks, including on April 9, when a massive blast in the centre of the city killed at least 15 people.

News of the blast came as the British charity Oxfam warned the human cost of Syria’s conflict had risen beyond all expectations.

In a report, Oxfam said there were already more than 1.3 million Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries. Inside Syria itself, 6.8 million people struggle in urgent need of assistance, it said.

The money to help some of the refugees and displaced people is running out, Oxfam said.

UN appeals have received only half of the funding they sought – to help far fewer people than they now need to assist, according to Oxfam.

And charity’s humanitarian programme is struggling with insufficient funds to help as much as it needs to, despite the generosity of its supporters and the public, the report said.

Source: Agencies

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