Two powerful bombs went off in the Syrian city of Idlib on Monday, in yet another escalation of violence that the United Nations is powerless to stop. The blasts, which appeared to be from car bombs, went off outside two military intelligence buildings, but also damaged a hotel where two U.N. monitors — who are supposed to be keeping tabs on the non-existent "cease fire" — were staying.
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As usual in situations where the Syrian government has taken direct hits from bombs, there's some confusion as to who is actually responsible. The Syrian government says that the bombs were suicide attacks carried out by "armed terrorists," which has also been their official explanation for almost everything that has happened in the country over the last year. State news sources continue to claim that outside agitators like al-Qaeda (and not a homegrown revolution) are responsible for the current troubles. Opposition groups seem to know more about the details bombings, suggesting they set them off without not definitively taken credit for them, probably because they don't want to be seen as crossing the line between freedom fighters defending themselves and actual terrorists who kill indiscriminately. And others in the opposition have even accused the Syrian government of orchestrating similar attacks on their own security forces in order to do just that — turn opinion against the opposition by making them out to be nothing more than thugs who attack civilians.
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State media put the death toll from today's bombs at eight, while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says it is more than 20 dead and dozens more injured. The actual number could actually be much higher. According to the BBC, at least 500 people have died from fighting in Syria since a cease fire was agreed to on April 12. However, with the U.N. sending only unarmed "observers" to monitor the situation, neither side has made any effort actually stop firing. Major General Robert Mood, who has been assigned to run the United Nations observer mission has said that "10 unarmed observers, 30 unarmed observers, 300 unarmed observers, even 1,000 unarmed observers cannot solve all the problems." It's yet another friendly suggestion that nothing short of outside military intervention will put a stop to the fighting.