DAMASCUS, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- Two army soldiers were killed Wednesday and many others injured when a suicide car bomb tore through their checkpoint in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib, as the new UN-Arab League (AL) joint special representative is to set foot in the country to carry out his difficult mission to help end the 18-month-old crisis.
The suicide bomber detonated his car bomb while passing by a military checkpoint in Saraqeb area in Idlib, the state-media said, adding that the blast damaged nearby buildings including a factory.
The blast is the latest of a series of explosions and suicide bombings that have grown increasingly common in Syria.
The latest fatal blast took place in the battered Aleppo city in northern Syria on Sunday, when a car bomb ripped through a military checkpoint in al-Malaab al-Baladi area, leaving at least 30 people killed.
The Syrian government has repeatedly accused members of al- Qaida of staging the attacks, buoyed by recent international reports that highlighted the presence of foreign fighters and Jihadists in Syria.
Urban clashes, mainly in Aleppo and suburbs of the capital Damascus, have grabbed the headlines of the local media lately. As the state media brags the "qualitative operations" of the Syrian army in many hotspots, the opposition activists alleged that the rebel fighters are making stride in their fights against the government troops.
SANA said the Syrian army carried out four operations in Bustan al-Qasr area in Aleppo targeting gatherings of "terrorists" near some schools and a mosque. It said the operations resulted in heavy losses upon the "terrorists."
In central Homs province, SANA said the Syrian troops "directed painful blows to the armed terrorist groups which were attacking the citizens and the law-enforcement forces in al-Hosn town and the adjacent villages in Homs countryside."
Meanwhile, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the government forces bombarded many hotspots across the country and clashed with armed rebels in many areas on Wednesday.
It said more than nine Syrian soldiers had been killed by an ambush set up by armed rebels at Qastal Ma'af area in the countryside of the coastal city of Latakia. The rebel fighters also injured more than 40 other soldiers, 12 of whom were reported to have been critically injured.
The Observatory also said 100 people had been killed Wednesday countrywide, 49 of whom unarmed civilians, including 4 children, adding that the toll also includes 10 rebel fighters, two defected soldiers, and 36 members of the Syrian forces.
Still, the activists' account can't be accurately verified or checked on ground.
Amid the ongoing violence, the new UN-AL special representative, veteran diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi will set foot in Syria on Thursday to embark on his mission.
Brahimi was appointed by the UN on Aug. 17 as new special representative of the UN and the AL to Syria, replacing Kofi Annan.
"I do know it is a very difficult task, but I believe it is not my right to try my best to give as much help as possible to the Syrian people," Brahimi said Monday in Cairo.
Labelling himself as an impartial mediator, Brahimi said "I will be in the service of the Syrian people alone and I will not have any master but the Syrian people."
However, most Syrians pin little hope on Brahimi's mission, bearing in mind previous foiled attempt by his predecessor, as well as the failure of Arab and international observers' missions in Syria.
DAMASCUS, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al- Moallem will meet with the new joint special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi on Thursday afternoon, Syrian foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement Wednesday.
Brahimi is tasked with brokering a diplomatic solution to the conflict after replacing former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who stepped down as the UN-Arab League (AL) joint special envoy in August in frustration after his six-point peace plan collapsed. Full story
MOSCOW, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- Russia on Tuesday called again for an immediate and "simultaneous cease-fire" in Syria following terror attacks in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, where more than 45 people were killed.
"We strongly condemn terrorist attacks, which kill innocent people. It is necessary to immediately stop all violence and simultaneously stop fire by all sides," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Full story