Damascus: Two explosions rocked central Damascus on Saturday, a watchdog said, a day after Syrian security forces killed at least 30 civilians despite the presence of UN observers.

"One bomb exploded in As-Saura Street," an key commercial artery in the capital, while the location for the other was uncertain, Rami Abdel Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Abdel Rahman, speaking on the phone from Britain where his rights watchdog is based, accused the government of carrying out the bombings to prevent people attending funerals for nine civilians killed in Damascus on Friday. The nine died during demonstrations and funerals in the neighbourhoods Kfar Sousa and Tadamon.

"This is the highest death toll we have seen inside Damascus" since a ceasefire took hold in April 12, added Abdel Rahman, whose group says more than 600 people have been killed nationwide during the tenous truce.

Opposition bloc the Syrian National Council called in a statement early on Saturday on the UN observers to visit Kfar Sousa and Tadamon, "where the funerals of the martyrs killed yesterday will be held." The peace agreement was brokered by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, whose office said on Friday that his peace plan was "on track."

Under the six-point plan, the government of embattled President Bashar al-Assad is supposed to withdraw its troops and heavy weapons from urban areas and allow peaceful demonstrations.

On Friday, protesters emerged from mosques after weekly prayers across the country, calling for Assad's ouster, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Among on Friday's casualties were a couple and their child shot dead in the northern city of Aleppo, scene of a bloody regime raid the day before in which four university students died.

Another 200 students were arrested in what the Observatory said could prove a turning point of the uprising in Aleppo, Syria's second city and commercial hub, largely spared the violence so far. Troops also shot at demonstrators in various other cities and towns, activists said.

Anti-regime demonstrations have been staged after prayers each Friday since the revolt against Assad's iron-fisted rule erupted in March 2011.


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