Syria's Homs governor says train accident "crime": SANA

12:45, July 24, 2011      

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Governor of Syrian city Homs Ghassan Abdul-Aal said Saturday the derailment of a passenger train in central Homs was a "crime and a message to whoever says the demonstration is peaceful."

Abdul-Aal, whose remarks were carried by the official SANA news agency, dismissed the accident as a "sabotaging act."

The Syrian TV said earlier Saturday that saboteurs destroyed part of a railway at al-Souda area in central Syria and caused a passenger train to derail, killing the driver and wounding a number of passengers.

The governor told SANA that a freight train traveled in the opposite direction an hour ahead of the accident, "which shows that the railway was intact," noting that the accident took place on early Saturday morning.

SANA said the train was on a journey from Aleppo to Damascus, carrying aboard 480 passengers, most of them women and children.

The state TV said "the saboteurs" targeted at dawn Saturday a railway near al-Souda area and dismantled part of it, adding that the front carriage of the train caught fire and a number of carriages overturned.

Meanwhile, an official source in the Syrian Interior Ministry said the damage at the tracks "aimed at committing a massacre against innocent passengers."

The interior ministry has urged citizens to cooperate with policemen by reporting any information about criminals and saboteurs "who are taking advantage of demonstrations to commit terrorist acts targeting innocent people and properties." In a statement carried by SANA, the ministry pledged to fight " decisively and strongly with those saboteurs." Homs, about 160 km from Damascus, has been a focal point of uprising. The Syrian authorities blamed the four-month-old unrest on " armed groups and foreign conspiracy" and stressed that it would track down gunmen who have intimidated the people and damaged public and private properties. The Syrian government said 1,200 members of the security forces and army personnel had died since the eruption of protests. According to activists, more than 1,600 civilians have died and some 10,000 have been detained.

Source: Xinhua
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