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26 Oct, 2012 08:29

No Eid ceasefire for Syria: Car bomb rocks Damascus, fighting rages at checkpoints (VIDEO)

At least five people were killed and 32 others wounded after a car bomb exploded in Damascus, according to preliminary reports by Syrian state media. The violence comes despite an official ceasefire honoring the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha.

Syria's opposition coordination committees claim some 70 people died in the blast.The bomb reportedly detonated near a children’s playground in Daf al-Shok, a Sunni residential neighborhood in a a southern district of the Syrian capital. Kids are feared to be among the casualties. Extensive damage to nearby buildings was reported. State news agency SANA said "terrorists" were responsible for the blast.The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also says 11 Syrian soldiers were wounded in a separate car bomb attack on a checkpoint in Daraa, a city in the country's southwest.Earlier in the day, the human rights watchdog claimed that rebels had laid siege to a military base one kilometer from the highway, and that government forces had opened fire in a nearby village.“Violent clashes started around 10:30 am (9:30 am Paris time) around the Wadi Deif base. The army responded by bombing the neighbouring village of Deir Sharqi. It is the first violation of the ceasefire,” Rami Abdul Rahman, the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP.

Syria's military said a number of checkpoints came under attack of "terrorists" Friday, including those in Deir Ezzor, Douma, Homs and Dara, as well as in several other locations.The General Command said "the Armed Forces are firing back and confronting the armed terrorist groups," as quoted by SANA. The Command considered the attacks as "clear violation" of the announcement truce.A tenuous truce was called into effect hours earlier on Friday morning following an agreement between the Assad government and the rebels to observe a four-day ceasefire in honor of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi proposed the truce after visiting Syria earlier this week in the hopes of creating what he called “a political environment where political talks are possible.”The ceasefire seemed doomed to fail from the start, as both the government and the rebels began setting numerous conditions shortly after the truce was announced.The Free Syrian Army said that its fighters would not commit to a ceasefire unless detained rebels were released from custody on Friday. Meanwhile, the Assad government said it reserved the right to retaliate against any violence by opposition forces during the truce. Damascus also said it would respond to any attempts to smuggle weapons across Syria’s borders, and would take measures to prevent ‘terrorists’ from entering the country.