Two suicide car bombers struck security compounds in Aleppo on Friday, killing 28 people and wounding hundreds of others, Syrian officials said, bringing significant violence for the first time to an industrial center that has largely stood by President Bashar Assad during the 11-month uprising against his rule.
Anti-Assad activists denied any involvement and accused the regime of setting off the blasts to smear the opposition as government forces continue to pummel rebels in one of their main strongholds, Homs. State media touted the bombings as proof the regime faces a campaign by terrorists, not a popular uprising.
The military stepped up its siege of Homs, where hundreds have reportedly been killed over the past week. Troops and security forces opened fire on anti-regime protesters who streamed out of mosques after Friday prayers. At least 27 civilians were killed, according to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The morning blasts in Aleppo, Syria's most populous city, ripped apart the facades of the local headquarters of the Military Intelligence Directorate and a barracks of the Security Preservation forces.
State television cited the Health Ministry as saying 28 people were killed in the blasts and 235 wounded. The dead included 11 security personnel killed at the barracks, 13 military personnel killed at the military intelligence building and four civilians, security officials said.