Syria: Car Bomb in Damascus Kills One; Drone Strike Targets Two Vehicles

View of the skyline of Damascus on June 26, 2013. (AFP)
View of the skyline of Damascus on June 26, 2013. (AFP)
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Syria: Car Bomb in Damascus Kills One; Drone Strike Targets Two Vehicles

View of the skyline of Damascus on June 26, 2013. (AFP)
View of the skyline of Damascus on June 26, 2013. (AFP)

A bomb attached to a car exploded early Saturday in the western part of the Syrian capital that is home to several diplomatic missions, killing one person and causing material damage, state media reported.

Damascus’ Mazze neighborhood houses the Iranian consulate, destroyed last month in a strike blamed on Israel. The attack at the time killed seven people including two Iranian generals and a member of Lebanon’s militant group Hezbollah and triggered a direct Iranian military assault on Israel for the first time, sparking fears of a regionwide war, The AP reported.

Several airstrikes have hit the tightly-secured neighborhood over the past months, mostly targeting Iranian officials.

State news agency, SANA, didn't say who the person killed was but said the blast set two other cars ablaze.

Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Britain-based opposition war monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the man killed in the explosion was a Mazze resident who carried a card identifying him as a Syrian army officer. Abdurrahman said the dead man had close ties to the Iranians.

Hours after the blast in Damascus, an Israeli drone strike reportedly targeted a car and a truck outside the western Syrian town of Qusair, northwest of Damascus, close to Lebanon's border, the Observatory and a Beirut-based pan-Arab TV station reported.

The strike hit the two vehicles near Dabaa air base. Qusair and its suburbs were struck several times over the past months by Israeli drones targeting Hezbollah fighters who have a presence in the area.

The Beirut-based Al-Mayadeen TV didn't say if there were casualties, but the Observatory said two Hezbollah members were killed and several others wounded in the drone strike.

Lebanon-based Hezbollah and Israeli forces have traded cross-border fire a day after the Israel-Hamas war started on Oct. 7 on almost daily basis. Since then, more than 400 people have been killed in Lebanon, most of them Hezbollah fighters, and more than 70 civilians and non-combatants, according to an Associated Press tally.

Meanwhile, Israel says at least 15 soldiers and 10 civilians have so far been killed in the clashes.

Tehran has been sending advisers to Syria since the country’s conflict, which later turned into civil war, began in March 2011. Iran-backed fighters have helped tip the balance of power in favor of President Bashar Assad government in the conflict that has killed half a million people.

Iran’s military presence in Syria has been a major concern for Israel, which has vowed to stop Iranian entrenchment along its northern border. Syria has accused Israel of carrying out hundreds of strikes on targets in government-controlled parts in recent years — but Israel has rarely acknowledged such strikes.



UN Human Rights Chief: Unconscionable Death and Suffering Happening in Gaza

A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
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UN Human Rights Chief: Unconscionable Death and Suffering Happening in Gaza

A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)

Palestinians in the Israeli occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem are suffering a drastically worsening human rights environment, alongside "unconscionable death and suffering" in the Gaza Strip, the UN human rights chief said on Tuesday.

"The situation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is dramatically deteriorating," Volker Turk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told the opening session of the UN Human Rights Council.

The West Bank, where the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority exercises limited self-rule under Israeli occupation, has seen the worst unrest for decades, in parallel with the war in the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by Hamas.

Turk said that from the start of the Gaza war in October through mid-June, 528 Palestinians, 133 of them children, had been killed by Israeli security forces or settlers in the West Bank, in some cases raising "serious concerns of unlawful killings".

Twenty-three Israelis have been killed in the West Bank and Israel in clashes with or attacks by Palestinians, he said.

In Gaza, Turk said he was "appalled by the disregard for international human rights and humanitarian law" by parties to the war.

"Israel's relentless strikes in Gaza are causing immense suffering and widespread destruction, and the arbitrary denial and obstruction of humanitarian aid have continued," Turk said.

"Israel continues to detain arbitrarily thousands of Palestinians. This must not continue."

He added that Palestinian armed groups were continuing to hold hostages, including in populated areas, which put both the hostages and civilians at risk.

Israel's permanent mission to the UN in Geneva accused Turk of "completely omitting the cruelty and barbarity of terrorism" in his address to the UN Human Rights Council.

"Hostilities in Gaza are the direct result of Hamas terrorism, decades of rocket-fire and incitement against the Jewish people and the State of Israel, culminating in its brutal attacks against Israel on October 7," the diplomatic mission said in a statement.

Israel's ground and air campaign was triggered when Hamas-led fighters stormed into southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel's offensive has killed more than 37,400 people in Gaza, according to its health authorities, and left much of the enclave's population homeless.