January 7, 2012
At least 11 people were killed in the attack, which came on another Friday of mass protests across the country. Grisly images of the aftermath of the bombing in a southern suburb of the Syrian capital were broadcast repeatedly on state media, along with claims that al-Qaida was responsible.
The atrocity shifted attention away from Homs, Hama, Idlib, Dera’a and other towns and villages where Syrians demanding the fall of the regime have been gunned down by Bashar al-Assad’s security forces for the past 10 months. But protests continued, including a rare demonstration in Aleppo, the country’s second city, where crowds appeared to be bigger than on previous Fridays, perhaps because of the presence of Arab League monitors.
In Damascus, government officials and state media said the bomber had detonated an explosive belt next to three buses bringing policemen to Midan, in the south of the city, just before weekly anti-regime demonstrations were due to start.
The dead and more than 60 injured were said to be “mostly civilians”, the state news agency Sana reported. The interior minister described the modus operandi and intention to cause mass casualties as having the “fingerprints of al-Qaida”.