A car bomb has ripped through the Al-Hajar Al-Aswad district of southern Damascus following heaviest military airstrikes since fighter jets were first deployed to crash the uprising.
The escalating violence came amid warnings by the U.N.-Arab league peace envoy on the worsening of the Syria crisis.
The blast has caused an unknown number of casualties, according to the Syrian States Television. “A terrorist car bomb attack has hit the district of Al-Hajar Al-Aswad,” the broadcaster said.
Al-Hajar Al-Aswad was the scene of intense mid-summer combat between rebels and the army when fighting broke out in several districts of the Syrian capital.
Earlier on Monday, the Syrian military launched the heaviest air strikes seen in the country since warplanes were first deployed over the summer, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
“There have been 34 air raids across the country over three hours this morning. These are the heaviest air strikes since warplanes were first deployed over the summer,” the watchdog’s director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
The explosions, which appeared to come from several different districts, could be heard over about two hours and were among the most intense in the city since the beginning of the 19-month conflict.
The Syrian Human Rights Network reported 75 people were killed by regime army across the country.
Monday’s violence came on the same day which U.N.-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, warned of the worsening of the crisis in Syria.
“The situation is bad and getting worse,” Brahimi told reporters, lamenting that a truce he had helped broker over the Eid al-Adha holiday had collapsed.
His statements were made in Moscow after talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Brahimi said that there was no immediate plan to send U.N. peacekeepers to Syria.
He expressed regret that the U.N.-brokered truce had not been more successful in Syria but said he would not let this discourage his peace efforts.
Meanwhile, Lavrov said that there will never be a resolution of the Syrian crisis without a dialogue with the Syrian government. He noted that there should be more pressure on Damascus and the Syrian opposition for applying ceasefire and moving to diplomatic solution.
Russia was hosting Brahimi to seek new ways of tackling the crisis in Syria after a truce failed to take hold, as Syrian warplanes hammered Damascus with loud explosions shaking the capital on the fourth day of a Muslim holiday marked by the failure of a ceasefire bid.
Russia had thrown its support behind Brahimi’s call for Bashar al-Assad’s army and the rebels to lay down arms during the Eid al-Adha holiday.
However shelling and car bombings resumed hours after the ceasefire had been due to take effect on Friday, with each side blaming the other for breaking it.
Russia has blamed the rebels for the failure to contain the violence, with deputy foreign minister Gennady Gatilov charging that “the opposition foiled the ceasefire,” making clear its “intent to continue violence.”
Moscow has repeatedly criticized Western powers for obstructing peace efforts in Syria and last week alleged that the United States was coordinating arms deliveries to the rebels, which
The State Department has called “ludicrous.”
Russia and China have repeatedly vetoed U.N. Security Council resolutions threatening action against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Moscow came under fire earlier this month for delivering radar systems to Damascus on a civilian plane, leading the U.S. to declare its Syria policy “morally bankrupt.”
President Vladimir Putin shot back with a declaration that Russia will trade weapons with whomever it wants, as long as deliveries do not defy U.N. sanctions.
Brahimi, who became the Syria envoy after his predecessor Kofi Annan quit when his five-point Syria peace plan fell through, will go to the U.N. Security Council in November with new proposals to push for talks between Assad and the opposition.
He is also due to visit China.
He had hoped that the Eid truce might lead to a more permanent ceasefire and a political solution of the conflict.