An explosion outside a mosque in Syria's capital killed five security personnel and wounded several others Friday, as fighting raged in other areas of Damascus and dozens of bodies were reported found in two neighborhoods.
Syrian state television said the blast was caused by an explosives-rigged motorcycle at the Rukniyeh mosque in central Damascus. The capital has been hit by a string of explosions since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in March last year.
Anti-government protests broke out in the city and elsewhere, and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported fresh clashes between government troops and rebels in the Kazaz neighborhood of Damascus. The tightly controlled area is home to offices of several Syrian security agencies.
The group also said Syrian residents have recovered 45 unidentified bodies in two areas near the capital, the latest such finds of suspected mass executions in the 18-month-long conflict.
In Geneva, the new head of the International Committee of the Red Cross said he had received “positive” commitments from President Assad this week to gain access to detainees and free up deliveries of badly needed aid.
Peter Maurer, however, said the world will have to wait and see whether the “commitment will translate into concrete reality.”
The United Nations said Friday that the number of people in Syria needing assistance has topped 2.5 million, double the number it estimated in June.
The European Union pledged Friday to provide an additional $76 million in humanitarian aid. Kristalina Georgieva, EU commissioner for humanitarian aid, said the new funds would go to providing shelter, medical aid and for other humanitarian purposes.
Also Friday, the United Nations refugee agency said the number of Syrians fleeing their homes continues to soar and that it would more than double aid to people displaced inside the country. VoA.