Explosions Rock Two Syrian Cities, Several Killed
5/5/12voa
Photo: AP People look at destroyed and damaged vehicles after an explosion on al-Thawra Street in Damascus, Syria, May 5, 2012.-

Huge explosions have rocked two Syrian cities on Saturday, leaving several people dead, as U.N. observers continue efforts to monitor a frayed cease-fire between the government and the opposition.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says a blast near the northern city of Aleppo killed at least three people.

Activists also say two explosions hit the capital, Damascus, including one caused by a bomb planted under a military vehicle. The blast left a huge crater in the street and damaged nearby vehicles.

The explosions come a day after rights groups said at least 29 people were killed in anti-government unrest. They say most of the deaths occurred after forces fired on thousands of protesters who took to the streets with renewed calls for President Bashar al-Assad's departure.

The government has blamed "terrorists" for much of the deadly violence that has continued since anti-government protests began over a year ago.

The United Nations estimates at least 9,000 people have been killed in the crackdown, while the government says it has lost at least 2,600 of its forces to "foreign-backed terrorists."

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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