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Two blasts hit security compounds in northern Syrian city, causing casualties, state media say
BEIRUT (AP) ' Two explosions targeted security compounds in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on Friday, state media said, causing an unspecified number of casualties in a major city seen as key to President Bashar Assad's grip on power.
A weeping television presenter on state-run TV showed graphic footage of at least five corpses, saying the blasts went off near a public garden where children had been playing. Debris filled the street and residential buildings appeared to have their windows shattered.
No emergency vehicles or ambulances were visible in the footage, and earth-moving equipment was seen clearing the rubble. The location did not appear to be closed off, as local residents milled around the site.
"Civilians and members of the military were martyred and wounded in the terrorist explosions that targeted Aleppo," the TV reported. It added that the targets of the blasts were a compound of the Military Security Directorate and another of the police force.
The blasts were the first in Aleppo, Syria's largest city, which has been relatively quiet since the uprising against Assad's regime erupted in March. Aleppo, which is close to the Turkish border, is an economic powerhouses.
The state TV presenter Friday said the weather was sunny and warm in Aleppo and many people were having breakfast in the public garden near the military compound when the explosion happened.
Some children were killed in the blast, he said, and held up a roller blade in his hand.
On Jan. 6, a suicide attack in the capital Damascus killed 26 people. Two weeks earlier 44 people were killed in a twin suicide bombings that targeted intelligence agency compounds in Damascus.
Assad's crackdown has killed more than 5,400 people since the uprising began in March.
The government blames the unrest on a foreign conspiracy by Israel and the West. It says armed gangs and terrorists are behind the uprising, not protesters seeking democratic change.
Bassem Mroue can be reached on twitter at http://twitter.com/bmroue