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U.S. argues over Syrian suicide bombing

(Xinhua)

10:26, July 26, 2012

WASHINGTON, July 25 (Xinhua) -- The United States did condemn the July 18 suicide bombing in the Syrian capital of Damascus, but it is wrong to draw the implication that those targeted were innocents, the State Department said on Wednesday.

Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland was responding to allegations by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that the U.S. position over the Damascus bombing that killed several top Syrian officials was "a direct justification of terrorism." The Russian minister was referring to Nuland's remarks that the attacks on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's top officials were "not surprising."

"On the day of the attack we were asked here, and we made absolutely clear that we condemn violence in any form inside Syria, " Nuland told reporters at a regular news briefing.

Syria's then Defense Minister Dawood Rajha was killed in the powerful bombing along with three other senior officials, including his deputy Assef Shawkat, who was also al-Assad's brother-in-law.

"I would note that these were not civilians, these were the organizers of al-Assad's military campaign who lost their lives," Nuland said.

"As I said, we do not condone violence of any kind, but to draw the implication that these were innocents who were targeted is also wrong," she added, blaming the Syrian government for much of the violence plaguing the country since March 2011.

Government and rebel forces have been fighting for days in Damascus and Aleppo, the second largest city in Syria, as conflicts have intensified since the July 18 bombing.

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