A video posted online in the name of a militant group late Friday claimed responsibility for the deadliest attack since the beginning of Syria’s fourteen-month uprising that killed at least 55 people and and wounded 372 on Thursday.
In the video, a group calling itself the Al-Nusra Front claimed Thursday's twin car bomb attacks through statements posted on militant websites in response to attacks on residential areas by the regime of President Bashar Assad.
"We tell the regime: Stop your massacres of Sunni people or you will bear the sins of the Alawites. What is coming will be more disastrous. We ask Sunnis to avoid any security force branches or other dens of the regime or face the consequences," a distorted voice says, reading black text that rolls across a white screen while Islamic chanting plays in the background, AP news reported.
The video could not be independently verified as the video was not posted on commonly-used Islamist or al-Qaida sites.
However, U.S. Defense Secretarysaid the US intelligence indicates "an al-Qaida presence in Syria and involved in Thursday's attacks," but the extent of its activity was unclear.
For his part, James Kleber, director of national intelligence, conveyed that the attacks which targeted Damascus and Aleppo over the past four months represent the type of acts by al-Qaida. According to him, extremists, particularly militants of al-Qaida in Iraq, may have penetrated the Syrian opposition groups.
A U.S. official said: "We are increasingly concerned that such attacks are beyond the control of the Syrian opposition...and that other groups are involved."
In another development, SANA news agency said: “A suicide bomber was killed when the security forces intercepted a stolen booby-trapped minibus that was laden with 1,200kg of explosives which he attempted to blow up in the densely-populated al-Shaar neighborhood in Aleppo city.
Also Friday, Syrian state TV said that an explosion took place next to the headquarters of the Syrian ruling party in the city of Aleppo. There were no reports of physical injuries or damage.
At the same time, the repression of the popular protest movement against the regime of Bashar al-Assad continues. Eight civilians were killed Saturday by regime forces in the regions of Hama, Idleb and Deir ez-Zor.
In addition, soldiers clashed with dissident in the regions of Idleb, Deraa and Homs. Elsewhere, the troops bombed a village in the region of Homs, killing seven people, while explosions could be heard in the province of Idleb, where the troops were firing rockets.
On Saturday, Turkey's state news agency Anatolian reported that the two Turkish journalists who were held in Syria for two months have been released and were being flown to Tehran as a result of Iranian mediation.