Syria’s holiday ceasefire shattered as car bomb explodes in capital

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A car bomb yesterday exploded in Damascus, shattering a ceasefire called to mark a Muslim festival.

Syria’s state-run media reported that the car bomb in the Daff el-Shouq area of Damascus caused significant material damage and several casualties.

Some reports say there are as many as five dead and 30 injured although the numbers have not been confirmed amid conflicting reports.

The ceasefire to mark a four-day Muslim holiday and proposed by the UN-Arab League envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, has been marred by scattered violence and fighting in several towns and cities across the country.

Bombs targeting Syrian security forces in the capital have become common.

Earlier, fighting raged near a military base in Syria’s north despite the ceasefire.

Activisits said this showed the difficulty of enforcing even a limited truce to co-incide with the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

However, violence appeared to die down outside the capital, although thousands of protesters took advantage of the lull in fighting to mount some of the largest anti-régime demonstrations in months.

The first serious disruption involved a radical Islamic group, Jabhat al-Nusra. Its members rejected the ceasefire from the outset.

The group clashed with régime forces for control of a military base outside a strategic town on the road to the northern city of Aleppo, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Activists say more than 35,000 people have been killed since the uprising began although figures are impossible to vereify.