Photo taken on Sept. 26, 2012 shows broken window glass in a building after the twin blasts near the Syrian army command in the capital of Damascus. No casualties were reported in the twin blasts that rocked the Syrian army command in Damascus earlier Wednesday, which had caused material damages only, Minister of Information Omran al-Zoubi told state TV. (Xinhua/Hazim)
DAMASCUS, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- Blasts and clashes rattled Syria on Wednesday and claimed the lives of many people at a time some defected military officers said that carrying guns will not solve the Syrian crisis.
Earlier Wednesday, twin blasts rattled the Syrian military command headquarters in the heart of the Syrian capital of Damascus, the latest brazen attack in a series of violence targeting security and army bases.
The blasts shook the Umayyad Square, where the military command headquarters and the state TV are located, at around 6:45 a.m. local time (0345 GMT), and were followed by intense gunfire that lasted for a couple of hours. Lebanese al-Manar TV said that after the blast, armed insurgents tried to storm the army's headquarters, but the Syrian troops responded and managed to kill a number of them.
Meanwhile, the state TV quoted a military source as saying that the blasts were caused by two suicide car bombs, adding that the blasts left four soldiers killed and 14 others injured, but all the army officers and leaders are fine and unscathed.
A huge plume of smoke could be seen spiraling over the Umayyad Square.
Meanwhile, activists told the pan-Arab al-Jazeera TV that the blasts were carried by the rebel Free Syrian Army. They also claimed that many officers were killed.
However, Syrian Information Ministry denied reports that the cabinet building in Damascus was hit and Defense Minister Fahed Jasim al-Fraij was injured after the blasts.
But, the 33-year-old Maya Naser, a journalist who works for the Iranian Press TV, was killed Wednesday while covering on air the twin blasts.
Naser, a Syrian national, was shot down by a sniper bullet while the chief of the Damascus' bureau of the Iranian al-Alam TV, Hussain Murtada, also suffered injuries during the coverage.
The blast is another blow to the government of Syrian President of Bashar al-Assad, after a major blast targeting the National Security Department in July killed four top military officials, including then Defense Minister Dawood Rajha.
Another blast occurred overnight Wednesday at the Damascus' upscale district of Mazzeh but left only material damage.
Separately, the pro-government Sham FM said 52 armed insurgents had been killed during several army operations in the northern province of Aleppo Wednesday, while the oppositional Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said more than 180 Syrians have been killed so far Wednesday, including 130 unarmed civilians.
Such claims cannot be checked or verified independently.
Meanwhile, five Syrian military defectors who had sided with the rebel Free Syrian Army dashed through a meeting of opposition parties in Damascus on Wednesday, admitting that they were wrong and that holding weapons will not solve the Syrian crisis.
Three officers, two warrant officers along with six civilians told the conference that "After we had defected our military posts and worked with the armed groups, we figured that the solution to the Syrian crisis can't be achieved by holding weapons."
Lieutenant-Colonel Khaled Abdul-Rahman al-Zalem, a defected officer who served as the deputy chief of the rebels' military council, said that "the solution can't be achieved through holding weapons, blasts, sabotage or killing the innocent, but repenting from the wrongdoing and through political means."
For his side, Yaser al-Abed, who ran an armed insurgent group in the northern Aleppo province, addressed the conference and called on those who have carried weapons to slow down. "Work your minds and know that holding weapons is nothing but a violation to the minds and freedom alike," he said.
"Syria is our home and honor, but they wanted to burn it. The most targeted things are our religion, nation and land," al-Abed said. "I have known all that, and that is why I have decided to lay down my weapon to be a loving person who seeks the good and the humanity."
The opposition meeting was also attended by a number of foreign diplomats.
DAMASCUS, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- Syrian information ministry denied Wednesday reports by some Arab media that the cabinet building in the capital Damascus has been hit and Defense Minister Fahed Jasim al-Fraij was injured following twin blasts that rocked the military's command headquarters earlier in the day.
In a statement following the blasts that rocked the military command building in Damascus earlier Wednesday, the information ministry said such news mirror the bankruptcy of the media outlets that are disseminating them. Full story