Bomb kills 30 pro-government Syrians

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - 1:00am

A suicide car bomb exploded Monday outside the headquarters of a local government-sanctioned armed group in Syria, killing at least 30 armed people loyal to embattled President Bashar al-Assad, according to an opposition group and state-run television.

The blast occurred at an old carpet factory in the eastern Hama countryside that was being used by the local People's Committee group, according the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Citing medical sources, the opposition group predicted the death toll may increase to more than 50 and said civilians also died in the explosion. Dozens have been wounded, some of them critically. The Syrian Arab News Agency also reported the death toll at 30 and said more than 50 people were wounded in the blast.

Earlier Monday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported another significant explosion -- this one in Dummar in the suburbs of Damascus, Syria's capital. That blast also appeared to stem from a car bomb and caused an unknown number of casualties, the group said, pointing to preliminary reports.

The United Nations estimated earlier this month that more than 60,000 people have been killed in Syria since unrest began in the country nearly two years ago. That might be an "underestimate," according to U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, who said Syria's raging civil war has made it "increasingly challenging" to collect accurate and reliable data.

The Local Coordination Committees of Syria, another opposition group, reported at least 92 deaths Monday across the Middle Eastern nation. That figure includes 27 dead in the province of Aleppo, 24 in and around Damascus and 16 in Homs.

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