Oct 27 2012
Two deadly car bombs and sporadic fighting have marred a shaky holiday truce in Syria, although thousands of protesters used the brief respite in the civil war to pour into the streets and demand president Bashar Assad's removal.
Chants of "Syria wants freedom!" rang out in the streets in the largest demonstrations in months, suggesting that a 19-month-old crackdown and sustained violence has not broken the spirit of those trying to rid the country of Assad's rule.
But even if a ceasefire holds for the intended four-day Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, it is unlikely to be a springboard for ending the conflict that has already claimed more than 35,000 lives.
A few hours after the truce took effect, a car bomb in a residential area of Damascus, near a housing complex for police, killed 10 people and wounded more than 30, Syrian state media said.
Amateur video posted online showed debris scattered across a large area. Flames shot out of the car's gutted wreckage as frantic residents tried to evacuate casualties. One rescuer carried a man with blood streaming down his face.
Another rigged car went off near an army checkpoint in the southern city of Deraa, killing three soldiers, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which compiles reports from a network of activists.
Rebel commanders have also dismissed the truce as irrelevant, while a radical Islamic group fighting on the rebel side, Jabhat al-Nusra, has rejected the ceasefire outright.
Gunmen from the group also took part in fighting today near a military camp close to a key supply road to Aleppo, Syria's largest city. In Aleppo, where rebels and regime forces are locked in a stalemate, fighting raged near the military airport, killing at least four people.
Elsewhere, at least 22 people were killed by regime shelling and sniper fire in the Damascus suburbs of Harasta and Douma, and in the northern Idlib province, the Observatory said.