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Bombings in Syrian capital kill 8 people

Assad’s forces press offensive on Damascus

Civilians and security officers milled at the scene of a bombing in the Syrian capital, Damascus. Residents of the district are mostly Alawites, an offshoot Shi’ite sect that President Bashar Assad’s family belongs to.

SANA/AFP

Civilians and security officers milled at the scene of a bombing in the Syrian capital, Damascus. Residents of the district are mostly Alawites, an offshoot Shi’ite sect that President Bashar Assad’s family belongs to.

DAMASCUS — Suicide bombers targeted security compounds in Damascus and a car bomb exploded in a pro-regime district there Sunday, killing at least eight people, the latest in a surge of civil war violence in the capital.

In northern Syria, a car bomb killed 12 soldiers in Aleppo, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of activists in Syria for information. It had no other details, and the government did not comment.

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The state-run news agency SANA said three suicide bombers blew themselves up while trying to break into the Rukneddine police station in northern Damascus, killing five people and wounding several others.

SANA said three would-be suicide bombers also tried to break into the Criminal Security Branch in the southern Bab Mousalla area but were caught by security forces before they could detonate their explosives.

SANA said a car bomb exploded in Mazzeh 86 district in the capital, killing three people, including a 3-year-old boy. Residents of the district are mostly Alawites, an offshoot Shi’ite sect that President Bashar Assad’s family belongs to. The opposition forces fighting against Assad’s regime are mostly Sunni Muslims.

Nobody immediately claimed responsibility for the Damascus explosions, but they bore the hallmarks of Al Qaeda-linked groups that have joined forces with rebels fighting to oust Assad.

The attacks came as government forces pressed an offensive on the outskirts of the capital.

SANA carried a statement by the Interior Ministry saying that the Damascus attacks were a ‘‘new escalation by terrorist groups,’’ a term used by the government to refer to the rebels.

More than 93,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict that started in March 2011 as peaceful protest. In the past year, the war has taken on sectarian overtones.

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