Damascus situation

The former United Nations HQ in Damascus was apparently attacked by terrorists today, but details are sketchy as to what is going on. Reuters is reporting that

“There were at least two terrorists. One was killed and another one injured after they detonated an explosive device… and destroyed at least three vehicles,” a diplomatic source told Reuters.

He said the blast set a United Nations building ablaze, but a Reuters witness at the scene said that while the building had long been used by the U.N., it was now a civilian residence.

A water depot with the United Nations emblem was seen on top of the blackened four-storey building, the windows were blown out, and shards of twisted metal protruded from inside.

Syrian authorities said only that an “armed subversive group” was behind the attack and gave no other details of who might have been responsible

Fox news is also reporting violence with some more details:

A gunbattle with police erupted, pelting nearby buildings with bullets and grenades, Ambassador Imad Moustapha said.

“Unidentified terrorists attacked a U.N. office building in Damascus and this office is surrounded by many embassies as well,” Moustapha told The Associated Press.

He said it was unclear what the attackers’ motives were.

He said one attacker was killed and another captured.

BBC reported earlier that “A main road near the Iranian, Canadian and UK embassies is said to have been hit by three to five blasts and heavy gunfire was heard.”
And Bloomberg is quoting Al-Arabiya as saying “the United Nations building” is on fire

The United Nations building was on fire and a terrorist group started shooting following three explosions in a western Damascus neighborhood, Al-Arabiya news reported, citing the Syrian state news agency SANA.

The explosions occurred at about 8 p.m. local time near the British, Canadian and Iranian embassies, Dubai-based Al-Arabiya said. Another explosion was reported near a shopping mall in the same neighborhood, the station said.

It’s hard to say just what has happened, but it looks like there was some kind of (maybe) unsuccessful attack on the U.N. or other western embassies today. Of course SANA, the official Syrian News Agency, is not much help:

A Security Source on Tuesday evening told SANA that a terrorist and sabotage group opened fire randomly in al-Mezza Street.
“The competent security authorities confronted the terrorist group and the situation was completely controlled”, the Source added.

This attack is part of an upsurge in violence in the region as a whole, following two foiled attacks in Jordan that have left the people of the Hashemite Kingdom scared.