Syria: Explosion rattles central Damascus


Lebanese men wave pre-Baath flags, that were adopted by the Syrian revolution during the uprising, as they celebrate in the centee of Lebanon's northern town of Tripoli on July 18, 2012, the death of Syrian defense minister General Daoud Rajha in a suicide attack targeting the National Security headquarters in central Damascus.

A large explosion has struck near an army post in central Damascus, the Associated Press reported. 

Syrian state television has said that the explosion involved two bombs and that four people had been injured, BBC reported.

Bomb attacks have become increasingly frequent in Syria as the regime and rebel forces battle in the two largest cities, Aleppo and Damascus.  Earlier today, 15 people were killed when a car bomb exploded in a southern suburb of the city, AFP reported.

The blasts come just one day after Lakhdar Brahimi, the new United Nations/Arab League envoy to Syria took his post.

He said yesterday that the need for a change in leadership in Syria was both "urgent" and "necessary." The BBC reports that over 20,000 people have died since the conflict began in March 2011.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reported today that Syrian rebels have begun targeting government air bases and aircrafts. According to reports, the rebels captured an air defense base in Syria's East on Saturday, and have seized antiaircraft missiles.  

The activity (three air bases in one week) shows a high level of communication between rebel factions, the LA Times reported.  Though Syria's military had initially relied on tanks, artillery and ground troops during the first stages of the uprising, the government has taken to using its "considerible air assets" to quash the rebels.  

Earlier this week, Syrian rebels claimed responsibility for shooting down an army helicopter while fighting regime forces in Damascus. Amateur footage showed the helicopter engulfed in flames: