Car bomb was Bashar al-Assad bid to wreck peace talks, says opposition
The head of the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) has accused Bashar al-Assad’s regime of attempting to assassinate him with a car bomb, jeopardising tentative steps towards negotiations between the two sides.
The explosion that ripped through a crossing on the border between Syria and Turkey killed 14 people but narrowly missed an SNC delegation on its way into Syria to visit refugees and rebel fighters.
The organisation’s head, George Sabra, told The Independent he believed “for sure” that the blast was a car bomb intended for his group, blaming the regime.
The accusation comes at a sensitive time, following overtures by the opposition National Coalition – on which the SNC holds the majority of seats – to engage in dialogue with the regime.
Factions within the SNC have always insisted on Mr Assad’s departure as a precondition for talks, raising concerns that accusations over the assassination attempt may make them more insistent.
For four days the delegation of 13 opposition politicians had travelled in and out of Syria through the Bab al-Hawa crossing, which has become a key transit point for refugees and goods since it fell into rebel hands last summer. But on Monday afternoon, as the group was scheduled to arrive, a mini-van with Syrian number plates drove in from the rebel-controlled side of the border and parked next to the first Turkish checkpoint.
The three men inside the vehicle slipped away – caught on security footage as one left for Turkey and two for Syria. Twenty minutes later the van, packed with TNT, was detonated by remote control, setting off a powerful explosion.
“We were supposed to go through the gate at that time but we were delayed for half an hour because some of our group wanted to stop to pray,” Mr Sabra said. “The explosion happened at exactly the time we were supposed to be there.”
Turkey’s Justice Minister, Sadullah Ergin, described the attack as an “act of terror” saying that civilians were the “clear targets”. Four of those killed were Turks and the rest Syrians, while at least 25 others were wounded.
Fracking is turning the US into a bigger oil producer than Saudi Arabia
Missing Malaysia Airlines plane: Details emerge of two young Iranians using stolen passports in search for a better life
Three-quarters of Britons are saying it wrong - the top ten most common mispronunciations
Oscar Pistorius trial: Athlete's friend asked him if 'he was f***ing mad' after shooting through sunroof
Oscar Pistorius trial: Forensic analyst says athlete 'was not wearing prosthetic legs' when he smashed locked toilet door with a bat
- 1 Three-quarters of Britons are saying it wrong - the top ten most common mispronunciations
- 2 Boy George: Bad karma
- 3 Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
- 4 First Kiss video: Filmmaker gets 20 strangers to make out on YouTube with awkward results
- 5 Ian Wright breaks down in ITV documentary charting his rise to Arsenal and England striker
£20,000 to £25,000: IT Connections Ltd: Graduate C / C++ Developer / Electroni...
£25,000 to £35,000: IT Connections Ltd: C / C++ Software Engineer / Windows / ...
£50,000 to £60,000: IT Connections Ltd: C++ / Java / Senior Software Developer...
£23500 - £50000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education is...