Deadly bomb attack kills dozens in Syrian capital
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A suicide bomb attack in the heavily-populated Midan district of Syria’s capital Damascus on Friday has killed or wounded "dozens" of people according to state television which blamed the blast on "terrorists". The violence comes two weeks after 44 people died in a similar attack.
The blast comes ahead of planned mass protests by pro-democracy activists to demand an Arab League observer mission, in Syria for two weeks, admits its failure to stem nearly 10 months of bloodshed and hands over to the United Nations.
Syrian opposition groups have criticised the monitors and accused the authorities of keeping them under too tight a rein.
The Local Coordination Committees, which organise protests on the ground, have labelled the mission "unprofessional". The LCC says at least 390 people have been killed since the observers began their mission with another 17 civilians killed on Thursday alone.
A team of Arab League observers has been in Syria since 26 December trying to assess whether President Bashar al-Assad's regime is complying with a peace accord aimed at ending its deadly crackdown on dissent.
The UN estimates more than 5,000 people have been killed in the crisis since March.
Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani, who heads an Arab League task force on Syria, has admitted "mistakes" in its almost two-week-old mission.
Sheikh Hamad discussed the deadly crackdown with UN leader Ban Ki-moon in New York on Wednesday.
A UN spokesman said Ban and the sheikh "discussed practical measures by which the United Nations could support the observer mission of the Arab League in Syria."
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