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No casualties reported in Damascus army command blasts: minister

No casualties were reported in the twin blasts that rocked the Syrian army command in the capital of Damascus earlier Wednesday, which had caused material damages only, Minister of Information Omran al-Zoubi told state TV.

The blasts were caused by two explosive devices, he added, denying media reports that many army officers were killed, saying that "all the military chiefs are fine."

He said the Syrian security forces are tracking down the assailants in the surroundings of the blast site, adding that footages and live coverage of the site will be available once the security situation is stabilized.

The twin blasts occurred in a swift succession at around 6:45 a.m. local time (0345 GMT) and targeted the Syrian army's chiefs of staffs' complex from two sides at the Umayyad square in the heart of Damascus, in which the state-TV establishment is also located.

Amateur footages appeared online purporting to show the smoldering fire at one side of the military command building, on which a plume of smoke spiraled in the sky.

Al-Zoubi said all the state TV's staffers are also fine, adding that the blast adds to the failure of the armed groups "after failing to achieve their goals."

Still, the blast is another blow to the government of President Bashar al-Assad after a major blast targeting the National Security Department in July killed four top military officials, including then Defense Minister Dawood Rajha.

[Source: Xinhua, Damascus, 26Sep12]

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