Syrian Blasts Kill 40

Simultaneous explosions in Damascus are the latest in protest activity and have killed approximately 40 Syrians.

Two suicide car bombings have claimed 40 lives, officials in Syria announced this morning.

The bombs detonated in Damascus and are believed to be the work of Al-Qaeda, according to Syrian officials.

However, rebel groups have denounced the presence of Al-Qaeda and said the government staged the protests.

Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad told the American Foreign Press: “On the first day after the arrival of the Arab observers, this is the gift we get from the terrorists and Al-Qaeda. But we are going to do all we can to facilitate the Arab League mission.”

Arab League observers arrived in Syria as part of a peace agreement aimed at stopping the violence between the government and rebel protesters. The groups have been essentially at war since March, when the death of a teenage boy set off a chain reaction of protests and violence.

One protester, Omar Idilbi, told the press that the explosions were “very mysterious because they happened in heavily guarded areas that are difficult to penetrate by a car.”

The Syrian National Council, a leading proponent of the anti-government movement, has been wary of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime since before March.

The group has met with other world leaders, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in order to discuss moving forward to a democratic society.

The United Nations met earlier this month to discuss and impose sanctions on Syria’s government with the hope that violence would stop, and Assad would step down form power. Reuters has reported that the Swiss government said it froze the assets of Assad and leading officials.

On Wednesday the Syrian National Council asked the United Nations to intervene as a result of increasing, not decreasing, violence. Over 200 people were killed within a 48-hour period, leading to outcry by the National Council.

President al-Assad has publicly stated that he “feels no guilt” about the violence and loss of over 5,000 Syrians.