Syrian opposition report fuel station bombing kills at least nine

Friday, January 4, 2013

Opposition activists in Syria say nine or more people have died as the result of a car bomb explosion at a fuel station in the Barzeh al-Balad district of Damascus, the capital of the country, according to BBC News Online. News agency Reuters has placed the minimum death toll at eleven while also reporting at least forty injuries. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights believes an increase in the number of fatalities recorded is probable.

At the time of the incident, a large number of people were waiting at the station to collect petrol. Activists say Syria is short of petrol because of the ongoing civil war, which started during 2011. BBC News Online says drivers queueing at fuel stations for hours is a frequent occurrence in the country.

An unidentified activist told Reuters the fuel station was "usually packed even when it has no fuel. There are lots of people who sleep there overnight, waiting for early morning fuel consignments". The same person reported witnessing the bodies of burned people being placed onto ambulances, as well as those with wounds and severe burns, and vehicles the blast had destroyed being towed away. The activist, a local resident, said security workers at the station then told him to leave the scene.

The Revolution Leadership Council, which is part of the Syrian opposition, cited "a booby-trapped car" as the source of the explosion. It is unclear at this stage as to who was responsible for the incident, although the local activist who spoke to Reuters said there had been increased conflict between civilians and militia supportive of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at fuel stations recently.