Deadly car bomb hits funeral in Damascus suburb

Barbara Plett says the government has called the attack a "terrorist car bomb"

Twelve people have been killed by a car bomb at a funeral in the Jaramana suburb of the Syrian capital Damascus, state TV has reported.

Injuries were also reported, with state media saying 48 people were wounded.

The funeral was for two supporters of the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, according to a UK-based opposition group.

Activists estimate over 20,000 people have died since March 2011, with over a million thought to be displaced.

The two who were being buried had reportedly been killed in a bomb attack on Monday.

A taxi had been used to carry the bomb, according to state-run news agency Sana.

The suburb of Jaramana where the blast occurred is predominantly populated by Christians and Druze, who follow an offshoot of Shia Islam.

Pictures of the aftermath of the bombing showed several destroyed vehicles and damage to surrounding buildings.

Government offensive


In the latest battle for Damascus, the regime has unleashed overwhelming force to try to inflict a definitive defeat on the armed opposition in the capital.

Its indiscriminate bombardments and sweeping ground assaults also appear aimed at sending a message of deterrence to the sympathetic communities who host the rebels. The risk is that this will only breed greater hatred for the state amongst these working-class Sunni districts, rather than turn them against the fighters.

The rebels have adopted guerrilla tactics that are almost impossible for a conventional army to counter, and they're still mounting attacks more than a week after the military offensive was launched. In such an uneven battle the rebels win by not losing, and the regime loses by not winning.

Violence continued across Syria on Tuesday, with reports of shelling around Damascus and fighting in the northern province of Idlib.

Several districts to the east of Damascus came under heavy attack, activists said, as government forces step up efforts to clear the area of anti-government forces.

Opposition fighters regrouped there after the regime claimed to have expelled them from the capital a month ago, the BBC's Barbara Plett reports from neighbouring Lebanon.

Anti-regime forces have been using guerrilla-style hit-and-run tactics in the capital since then, our correspondent adds.

Over the weekend, more than 200 people were reported killed in the town of Darayya near Damascus, the latest in a series of mass killings which have shocked Syrians.

Clashes were also reported on Tuesday in Idlib province, with activists saying 13 people had been killed by an air strike in the town of Kafr Nabl.

Refugee influx

Meanwhile, the number of refugees fleeing into Turkey from Syria could reach 200,000, the UN's refugee agency has warned.

In the past two weeks, 5,000 people have been crossing the border every day, compared with 500 a day earlier in the month, according to the UNHCR.

A Free Syria Army fighter sits with his children at an unofficial rebel camp set-up in an olive grove near the Syrian-Turkish border on 27 August The flow of refugees into Turkey has increased significantly in recent weeks, the UNHCR says

The Turkish authorities are planning to set up extra camps for the refugees but have warned they may soon run out of space.

Turkey already plays host to almost 80,000 Syrian refugees and has called on the international community to help share the burden.

Turkish officials have suggested the UN may need to create safe zones in Syria to cope with the influx.

The rate of arrivals at the Zaatari camp in northern Jordan has also doubled over the past week, according to the UNHCR.

The agency says it has also noted an increase in the number of unaccompanied children arriving in Jordan.

"Some children report that their parents have died, or are staying behind in Syria to look after relatives, or are working in other countries," UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said.

In a separate development, a prominent figure in the main opposition coalition, the Syrian National Council (SNC), has resigned.

Basma Kodmani, one of few women in the council, said she would continue working to support the uprising.

"The council did not win the needed credibility and did not preserve the confidence that was given to it by the people when it was formed, it has diverted from the path that we wanted for it when we formed it," she said.

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