At least 10 people were killed and 15 others injured Sunday in a bomb blast near the Bab Touma district’s police station while another suicide car bomb attack before a French hospital in Zuhour Street in the northern city of Aleppo resulted in several injuries and material damage, the state media said.
An explosive-laden taxi blew up in the busy street crowded with shoppers and people going to churches in the historical city of Bab Touma. Bab Touma is mainly inhabited by the Syrian Christians and had remained largely insulated from the ongoing violence in the country.
“The bomb exploded as people were moving to go to churches for Sunday mass. It exploded just outside the police station. There was a bus stop right beside it,” a resident calling himself George, who works in a hotel just a few streets away from the site of the explosion, told the Telegraph. “I felt the explosion. The ground beneath me shook and I can see black smoke rising from the area.”
The explosion rocked the busy shopping complex near to it and at least four cars were destroyed, the Guardian reported.
The blasts coincided with the visit of U.N. peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to Damascus. Brahimi was in the city for talks with President Bashar al-Assad to push for ceasefire between the government and the rebel forces.
He urged both sides to declare unilateral ceasefire for the week on the occasion of Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha.
"I appeal to everyone to take a unilateral decision to cease hostilities on the occasion of Eid al-Adha and that this truce be respected from today or tomorrow," Brahimi told reporters after meeting Assad, the Telegraph reported.
He had earlier met Syrian opposition leaders and rebel groups and claimed that he had got promises from them to stop fighting. "There is a promise to stop fighting," he said on the opposition’s response. He said he "found an overwhelming response and all of them have said that it's a good idea which they support."
However, there seems to be no end to the violence as heavy firing was reported in the city of Maaret al-Numan. According to the human right activists, air strikes by the government forces on opposition targets in Northern Syria killed at least 43 in the past two days, the Associated Press reported.
Maaret al-Numan was captured by the rebel forces last week, and intense fighting was reported as Assad’s regime resorted to air attacks against the rebel forces.