The continuing turmoil in Syria turned even more deadly on Thursday morning when two enormous bombs were set off at a government intelligence building in Damascus, the capital.
The bombings took place during morning rush hour, guaranteeing that there would be lots of casualties. And there were. Some 70 were reported killed and over 300 wounded, mostly just innocent by-standers. The bomb site, now a large crater surrounded by burned-out hulks of cars, is near the al-Qazzaz intersection.
The Syrian government reports that the explosives were set off by suicide bombers.
The bombings come a day after UN special envoy warned that if Syria’s revolution continues, it could result in a civil war.
As CBS/AP reported, above there is always a lot of speculation about the perpetrators of such bombings, which have also occurred in Aleppo and Idlib.
The opposition Syrian National Council’s allegation that the regime bombed itself is not plausible.
So the perpetrators were almost certainly regime opponents. The similarities between this bombing and the ones we see in Baghdad raises the question of whether these guerrillas are linked or even the same. It has been reported that fighters once based in Iraq have flocked to Syria. It is possible that a forensics team could get at this issue more precisely.
If the bombing issues from some such quarter, is is politically stupid. Some 70 UN inspectors are in Syria trying to get a sense of where they country is going amid all this turbulence, and they flocked to the bomb site.
But it would be wrong to tar the Syrian Natonal Council with this horrible act. Their strategy has mainly been peaceful demonstrations. The SNC is saying absurd things such as that the regime bombed itself in order to avoid having the world community swing around and come to view it as a terrorist organization.
Likewise the bombings will alienate further the nervous, fence-sitting ethnic minorities of Syria, including the 14 percent or so of the population that is Christian and the 10 percent that is Allawite Shiite.
But in leaderless, networked revolutions there are lots of unconnected political actors working simultaneously, and that might well be the case here. If jihadi volunteers came from Iraq or elsewhere, determined to make good use of their munitions training, the SNC could do little about that.