Car bomb kills 17 in Aleppo: Syrian state media

Published Sep 09, 2012 07:59pm

Displaced woman cries while she leaves her home in Slah Adin district in Aleppo. -AP Photo

AMMAN: A car bomb ripped through Syria's largest city of Aleppo on Sunday, killing at least 17 people and wounding 40 in one of the main battlegrounds of the country's civil war, state-run media said.

State-run TV aired footage of fire trucks trying to extinguish the blaze and rescue workers digging through mounds of rubble.

Aleppo's governor, Mohammed Wahid Akkad, was quoted by Syria's official news agency, SANA, as saying 17 dead were civilians.

The fight for Aleppo, a city of 3 million that was once a bastion of support for President Bashar Assad, is critical for both the regime and the opposition.

Its fall would give the opposition a major strategic victory with a stronghold in the north near the Turkish border. A rebel defeat, at the very least, would buy Assad more time.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. SANA blamed terrorists, the term the regime uses for rebels. Opposition activists could not immediately be reached comment.

Al-Qaida-style suicide bombings have become increasingly common in Syria, and Western officials say there is little doubt that extremists, some associated with the terror network, have made inroads in Syria as instability has spread.

But the main fighting force looking to oust Assad is the Free Syrian Army, a group made up largely of defected Syrian soldiers.

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