VIDEO: Car bomb blast kills dozens in Syria; expert says to expect more of the same

Here and Now

Violence in Syria is on the rise again, after a car bomb blast in the capital of Damascus that killed more than two dozen people.

Syrian officials are blaming the attack on violent extremists they’ve been trying to stop for months. Rebels say the Syrians officials are liars and staged the blast themselves, in order to portray to Arab League monitors that there are violent extremists on the loose that they must be allowed to stop.

The blast was reported to have happened at a busy intersection in a district of the capital.

Damascus Explosion Kills Several

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“Authorities say most of those killed were civilians, but some security personnel were among the casualties,” the BBC reported( “Syria’s interior ministry said it would ‘strike back with an iron fist’ to what it called ‘terrorist escalation’.”

Meanwhile, in other parts of Syria, rebels say 35 people were killed by security forces. The United Nations says Syrian government forces have killed more than 5,000 people in the country’s bloody crackdown on protests against President Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorship.

Josh Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, said things are going from bad to worse in Syria right now.

“It’s very hard tell who is blowing off these bombs,” he said. “I expect we’re going to see a lot more. We’ve seen this in Lebanon, where suicide bombing was perfected, and then in Iraq, where there’s been an uptick in suicide bombings because of ethnic tensions there.”

The regime blames Al Qaeda, and it would not be hard to imagine Al Qaeda penetrating Syria, Landis said. But whether it’s Al Qaeda or not, is fairly irrelevant, because the situation there is rapidly deteriorating.

“Many of the opposition are extremely frustrated because there’s been a stalemate and the government has been smashing the opposition,” he said. “We’re going to see more and more resort to desperate measures.”

Landis said Arab League monitors who are in Syria right now have no hopes of tamping down the surging violence — their stated mission. In fact, he said, in some ways they’re a catalyst for more violence, because they serve as a useful means to broadcast the problem and get international attention to the revolution in Syria.

“This sort of attack is bound to become a larger part of this conflict,” he said.

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