Both the Syria government and opposition forces blame the other side for two huge bombs that went off in Damascus today, underscoring once again the failure of the U.N. cease fire. Al Jazeera says the explosions — two consecutive blasts, located closely together — are, by far, the biggest to hit Syrian capital since the uprising began more than 14 months ago. The video below, uploaded to YouTube, appears to capture the the second explosion while the camera operator was filming the smoke from the first one.
The death toll from the blasts is at least 40, but may still rise higher, and Syrian state TV says at least 170 more people were wounded. They also blamed the usual "armed terrorists" for the explosion, which targeted the a nine-story military intelligence building. However, a spokesperson the Syrian National Council, the main opposition group, said "The regime is behind this," in order discredit anti-government forces. (Meanwhile, Iranian TV takes a different tack, blaming "Saudi Arabian financed NATO death squads."
The United Nations continues to add observers to the country and condemn the ongoing fighting, but it's clear that their efforts have done almost nothing to bring an end to the crisis. The U.N. itself became the target of an attack yesterday, when convoy of observers that included Major General Robert Mood, who is leading the peacekeeping effort, narrowly missed being by a roadside bomb. The U.N. plans to have 300 observers in the country by the end of the month, but with military power to back up their efforts, there doesn't appear to be anyway to enforce cease-fire.