State media blames al-Qaeda, and while anything from Syrian state media ought to be taken with a grain of salt, the methodology is indeed al-Qaeda’s. “Suicide bombers kill 40 in Damascus, Syria says,” by Erika Solomon for Reuters, December 23:
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Suicide car bombers struck Damacus on Friday, officials said, killing 40 people, gutting buildings and sending human limbs flying in the bloodiest violence to hit Syria’s capital in a nine-month-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
The attacks, which state media blamed on al Qaeda, targeted two Syrian security sites and came a day after the arrival of Arab League officials to prepare for a monitoring team that will check whether Assad is implementing a plan to end the bloodshed.
Assad has deployed tanks and troops to try to crush a wave of protest against his rule inspired by other Arab revolts this year. Mainly peaceful rallies are now increasingly eclipsed by an armed insurgency against his military and security apparatus.
But Friday’s blasts in central Damascus signaled a dramatic new escalation in violence, which Syrian authorities blame on armed groups they say have killed 2,000 soldiers and security force members since popular unrest broke out in March.
State television said over 150 people were wounded by the explosions. It broadcast footage of mangled bodies being carried in blankets and stretchers into ambulances with sirens wailing.
Television footage also showed bloodied streets littered with human remains, blackened car wrecks and other debris, as well as a row of corpses wrapped in sheets laid along a street.
State television said the attackers zeroed in on a state security administration building and a local security branch.
Syria has generally barred foreign media from the country, making it hard to verify accounts of events from either side….