U.S. condemns Syria blasts, says must not hinder Arab League

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 23, 2011 3:29 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States strongly condemned two blasts that hit Syria's capital on Friday, saying they should not be allowed to impede an Arab League plan aimed at ending a bloody nine-month crackdown against anti-government protests.

"There is no justification for terrorism of any kind and we condemn these acts wherever they occur," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement.

"It is crucial that today's attack not impede the critical work of the Arab League monitoring mission to document and deter human rights abuses with the goal of protecting civilians. We hope that this mission will proceed unfettered in an atmosphere of non-violence," he said.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was unclear who did the bombing.

Syrian officials have blamed al Qaeda while Assad's opponents have said the government itself might have staged the bombing to gain sympathy and support its claim to be under attack by outside forces.

"For the moment it's unclear who did the bombings," the U.S. official said. "It's best to get all the information before assigning blame one way or another."

(Reporting By Andrew Quinn and Mark Hosenball; Editing by Bill Trott)