Damascus car bomb shatters Syria truce
By Dominic Evans
BEIRUT (Reuters) - A powerful car bomb exploded in Damascus on Friday and forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad clashed with rebels across Syria as a truce intended to mark a Muslim religious holiday unraveled and activists reported at least 70 deaths.
State television said the "terrorist car bomb" had killed five people and wounded 32, according to "preliminary figures".
Opposition activists said the bomb had gone off near a makeshift children's playground built for the Eid al-Adha holiday in the southern Daf al-Shok district of the capital.
Fighting erupted around Syria earlier as both sides violated the Eid al-Adha ceasefire arranged by international peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.
Violence was less intense than usual and activists reported no air strikes, but dozens of people were killed including 26 troops, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the bloodshed in the country.
The Syrian military said it had responded to attacks by insurgents on army positions, in line with its announcement on Thursday that it would cease military activity during the four-day holiday but reserved the right to react to rebel actions.
Brahimi's ceasefire appeal had won widespread international support, including from Russia, China and Iran, President Assad's main foreign allies.
The U.N.-Arab League envoy had hoped to build on the truce to calm a 19-month-old conflict that has killed an estimated 32,000 people and worsened instability in the Middle East. Continued...