Blast in south Syria,Red Cross blocked

Saturday’s bombing in Daraa marked the first time a suicide bombing struck an opposition stronghold.

Written by Associated Press | Beirut | Published: March 4, 2012 12:23 am

A suicide car bomb exploded Saturday in a southern Syrian city known as the birthplace of the country’s uprising,and casualties were reported,the state-run news agency said. The blast came as Syria continued to block a Red Cross convoy from delivering badly needed aid to a rebellious neighborhood in the central city of Homs.

The SANA news agency said the suicide bombing occurred at a roundabout in the heart of Daraa,an area known as Daraa al-Balad,causing multiple casualties and damaging buildings and shops. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least two were killed and several others wounded in the explosion.

Saturday’s bombing in Daraa marked the first time a suicide bombing struck an opposition stronghold.

Elsewhere,Syrian troops shelled Saturday several districts in the central city of Homs where a standoff continued between a Red Cross convoy and the government that has blocked the delivery of food,medical supplies and blankets to the thousands still stranded in the area. The Local Coordination Committees activist network said mortars slammed into Khaldiyeh,Bab Sbaa and Khader districts of the city early Saturday.

The Red Cross said it had received permission from the government of President Bashar Assad on Thursday to enter Baba Amr,on the western side of Homs. A convoy of seven trucks with 15 tons of humanitarian aid left Damascus on Friday,taking several hours in heavy snowfall to reach Homs. Once in Homs,it was poised to enter Baba Amr but authorities then blocked their access,the Red Cross said. There was no explanation from the government about the change.

Syrian Red Crescent officials on Saturday handed over to embassy officials the body of French photographer Remi Ochlik,and the remains of American Marie Colvin,the two foreign journalists who were killed during shelling in Homs.

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