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Wednesday’s Damascus blast killed 16 lawyers

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Author: The Associated PressFri, 2017-03-17ID: 1489692045274760800DAMASCUS: The head of Syria’s Bar Association said Thursday that 16 lawyers were among the dozens killed in the suicide attack that struck the main judicial building in the capital Damascus on Wednesday.Nizar Skeif said that targeting the Justice Palace aimed to “undermine the Syrians’ morale and stir anarchy and terror.”Skeif said that besides the lawyers, civilians lost their lives in the blast. He said no judges were killed.Opposition factions, including Al-Qaeda’s former Syria affiliate the Fateh Al-Sham Front, issued rare denials of any involvement in the attacks.The Tahrir Al-Sham alliance, which is dominated by Fateh Al-Sham, said it “denies any link to the Damascus explosions.”“Our goals are confined to security branches and military barracks of the criminal regime and its allies,” it said in a statement published on Telegram late Wednesday.The bombings drew condemnation from opposition group Ahrar Al-Sham, which described them as “criminal terrorist blasts.”It accused the regime of provocation, an allegation also leveled by another opposition group, Jaish Al-Islam (Army of Islam), which said the attacks had been “staged.”“The regime of (Bashar) Assad achieved two central goals: Tarnishing the revolution with the stain of terrorism… and creating sectarian tensions within a united people,” the group said.The attacks came as the UN prepares to convene a new round of peace negotiations between the regime and the opposition in Geneva next Thursday.Opposition delegates stayed away from parallel talks, which wrapped up in the Kazakh capital Astana on Wednesday.Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that the opposition’s decision to boycott the latest round of talks was the initiative of a third party.Speaking at a regular briefing for journalists, she did not identify the third party.
Main category: Middle-East

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