Syria's Assad rocked by four bombings in Aleppo

Friday, January 21, 2011   E-Mail this story   Free Headline Alerts

WASHINGTON The Syrian opposition reported that the regime of President Bashar Assad has been shaken by four suicide attacks in one day. The opposition said the bombings took place in the northern city of Aleppo on Jan. 17, and at least seven people were killed.

"The car bombs were detonated in the Ashrafiyeh area mostly populated by the Kurds," the Washington-based Reform Party of Syria said. "The Assad regime has successfully suppressed the information from reaching the outside world."

RPS said the Syrian opposition has been galvanized by the successful revolt in Tunisia. The statement said Syrians have been stunned by the sudden flight of Tunisian President Zein Al Abidine Bin Ali, who found a haven in Saudi Arabia.

Aleppo, the second largest city in Syria, has long been regarded as a hotbed of unrest. In addition to the Kurds, Aleppo has a large Sunni population with sympathy for Al Qaida.

"Sending military reinforcements to Aleppo is counterproductive to the regime because the majority of the foot soldiers in the Syrian Army are Sunni Muslims," RPS said. "Turning their guns on Damascus is the last thing Assad can afford in a post-Tunisia atmosphere."

In a Jan. 19 statement, RPS, regarded as a reliable opposition source, said many people were also injured in the bombing. So far, nobody has claimed responsibility for what was regarded as the worst attack on the Assad regime in at least two years.

"Some experts claim it is the work of the regime itself as a warning shot across the bow against any uprising by the Kurds a la Tunisia," RPS said.

The Syrian government has not confirmed the attacks. Over the last year, Kurdish unrest has risen in northern Syria, particularly near the borders of Iraq and Turkey.

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