A handout photo released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency SANA shows Syrian policemen holding wreaths and carrying coffins of their comrades during a funeral procession in southern Syria on Friday.
A handout photo released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency SANA shows Syrian policemen holding wreaths and carrying coffins of their comrades during a funeral procession in southern Syria on Fri

Blasts put Syria on brink of civil war

BEIRUT // With the most lethal attack in Damascus in the 14-month uprising against the regime of President Bashar Al Assad, Syria has passed another threshold on the path towards full-scale civil war.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) this week said the conflict in some parts of the country already meets its definition of civil war.

The fighting has been so intense in places such as Homs and Idlib province, that the ICRC believes it qualifies as localised civil war. Thurday's car bombings that left 55 dead and hundreds wounded brought that type of violence to the capital.

Kofi Annan, the UN Arab League special envoy to Syria, had also warned that such a conflict may be inescapable if his peace plan doesn't work.

"Right now the balance of power is still with the regime, but on the ground it is going towards civil war," said Elias Hanna, a Lebanese analyst and retired general.

Thurday's bombings at a busy intersection were not the first such attack in Damascus, but it was the deadliest.

Timor Goksel, a former spokesman and adviser for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (Unifil), said such attacks would only "escalate the conflict".

"One of the main security services was targeted, which is the backbone of the government," he said. "Somebody out there is studying and deciding on targets. This is not haphazard, but well planned and seems to be better technically prepared than earlier bombings."

The last bombing to target the centre of the capital - which is still under the control of forces loyal to Mr Al Assad - was on April 27 when at least nine people were killed.

No one has claimed responsibility for Thursday's bombings. Both the government and the opposition blame each other.

Mr Hanna said the size of Thursday's explosions, the target, as well as the timing when UN ceasefire monitors are on the ground in Syria made the bombings significant.

"Damascus is the centre of gravity of the regime," he said. "If you want to execute this, you have to have the capabilities, which means whoever was behind it is a big organisation."

Violence from security forces has become the norm in some parts of the country, as anti-regime demonstrations have continued. Every day opposition groups detail regime violations of the UN-brokered ceasefire that was supposed to take effect on April 12.

More than 12,000 people, the majority of them civilians, have died since the uprising began, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. As the death toll has risen, there have been growing calls for the government to stop using violence against its people. The Syrian regime has maintained that foreign-backed terrorists are responsible for the bloodshed.

This week, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon spoke of more "innocent civilians dying, government troops ... in city streets, growing number of arrests and allegations of brutal torture". He also noted an "alarming" upsurge in the use of IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and other explosive devices.

Although the uprising began as peaceful protests, opposition to the regime has grown more militarised in the past several months. There is also concern about the presence of extremist militant groups in Syria, making the situation even murkier and further complicating the possibility of a resolution in the conflict.

Yesterday, the head of the main political opposition group, the Syrian National Council (SNC), said Thursday's suicide bombings appeared to have been carried out by Al Qaeda. Speaking during a trip to Tokyo, Burhan Ghalioun also linked the possible perpetrators to the Al Assad regime.

As the international community continues to grapple with how to deal with the Syria crisis, Mr Goksel said the country will continue to "slide towards civil war".

"But, I don't think the opposition or the state would be consciously pushing for civil war," he said. "We will see more such attacks, I'm afraid. Both sides are finding it difficult to talk to each other and in a conflict like this, a solution can only be found when the situation is ripe. The situation is not ripe yet, unfortunately."

* With additional reports by the Associated Press


Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

If you go

There are regular flights from Dubai to Kathmandu. Fares with Air Arabia and flydubai start at Dh1,265.
In Kathmandu, rooms at the Oasis Kathmandu Hotel start at Dh195 and Dh120 at Hotel Ganesh Himal.
Third Rock Adventures offers professionally run group and individual treks and tours using highly experienced guides throughout Nepal, Bhutan and other parts of the Himalayas.

Our legal columnist

Name: Yousef Al Bahar

Advocate at Al Bahar & Associate Advocates and Legal Consultants, established in 1994

Education: Mr Al Bahar was born in 1979 and graduated in 2008 from the Judicial Institute. He took after his father, who was one of the first Emirati lawyers


Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

How to wear a kandura


  • Wear the right fabric for the right season and occasion 
  • Always ask for the dress code if you don’t know
  • Wear a white kandura, white ghutra / shemagh (headwear) and black shoes for work 
  • Wear 100 per cent cotton under the kandura as most fabrics are polyester


  • Wear hamdania for work, always wear a ghutra and agal 
  • Buy a kandura only based on how it feels; ask questions about the fabric and understand what you are buying
Neymar's bio

Total club appearances 411

Total goals scored 241

Appearances for Barca 186

Goals scored for Barca 105

The specs

Engine: Dual synchronous electric motors
Power: 660hp
Torque: 1,100Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Touring range: 488km-560km
Price: From Dh850,000 (estimate)
On sale: October

The Details

Kabir Singh

Produced by: Cinestaan Studios, T-Series

Directed by: Sandeep Reddy Vanga

Starring: Shahid Kapoor, Kiara Advani, Suresh Oberoi, Soham Majumdar, Arjun Pahwa

Rating: 2.5/5 

All We Imagine as Light

Director: Payal Kapadia

Starring: Kani Kusruti, Divya Prabha, Chhaya Kadam

Rating: 4/5

Victims of the 2018 Parkland school shooting

Alyssa Alhadeff, 14

Scott Beigel, 35

Martin Duque, 14

Nicholas Dworet, 17

Aaron Feis, 37

Jaime Guttenberg, 14

Chris Hixon, 49

Luke Hoyer, 15

Cara Loughran, 14

Gina Montalto, 14

Joaquin Oliver, 17

Alaina Petty, 14

Meadow Pollack, 18

Helena Ramsay, 17

Alex Schachter, 14

Carmen Schentrup, 16

Peter Wang, 15

The specs: 2019 Haval H6

Price, base: Dh69,900

Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder

Transmission: Seven-speed automatic

Power: 197hp @ 5,500rpm

Torque: 315Nm @ 2,000rpm

Fuel economy, combined: 7.0L / 100km


Opening fixtures:
Friday, Oct 5

8pm: Kabul Zwanan v Paktia Panthers

Saturday, Oct 6
4pm: Nangarhar Leopards v Kandahar Knights
8pm: Kabul Zwanan v Balkh Legends

Tickets can be bought online at https://www.q-tickets.com/apl/eventlist and at the ticket office at the stadium.

TV info
The tournament will be broadcast live in the UAE on OSN Sports.

Sri Lanka squad for tri-nation series

Angelo Mathews (c), Upul Tharanga, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Janith Perera, Thisara Perera, Asela Gunaratne, Niroshan Dickwella, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Dushmantha Chameera, Shehan Madushanka, Akila Dananjaya, Lakshan Sandakan and Wanidu Hasaranga

If you go

The flights
Emirates and Etihad fly direct to Nairobi, with fares starting from Dh1,695. The resort can be reached from Nairobi via a 35-minute flight from Wilson Airport or Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, or by road, which takes at least three hours.

The rooms
Rooms at Fairmont Mount Kenya range from Dh1,870 per night for a deluxe room to Dh11,000 per night for the William Holden Cottage.