Damascus: Syria's authorities and the opposition traded accusations on Sunday over who was behind blasts that rocked Damascus and Aleppo, on the eve of parliamentary polls designed to boost the regime's legitimacy.

Overnight violence in Damascus province killed three people, a rights watchdog said, as the authorities made final preparations for a vote it says is crucial for building "the new Syria" but which the opposition has already dismissed as a "farce."

Information Minister Adnan Mahmud said that voting on Monday was an act of defiance.

"By taking part in the election, Syrians are defying the campaign of terrorism and aggression led by international and regional parties implicated in a terrorist war against our country," he said in a statement.

President Bashar al-Assad meanwhile on Sunday laid a wreath at a monument on Mount Kassioun, which overlooks the Syrian capital, to commemorate the annual Martyrs Day.

The opposition for its part blamed the regime for two bomb blasts on Saturday in Damascus and one in Aleppo, where according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights an explosion hit a car wash as a bus was passing by, killing at least five people.

"It is the regime that caused these mysterious explosions. We are suggesting an international commission of inquiry," said Omar Idelbi, spokesman for the Local Coordination Committees, which organises protests on the ground.

"The revolutionaries have no interest in these explosions," he told AFP.
But state media, which reported three deaths from the Aleppo blast -- including a 10-year-old boy – blamed "terrorists" linked to the opposition for carrying out on Sunday's attacks in a bid to sow instability ahead of the vote.

The Britain-based Observatory said on Sunday a young man was gunned down by regime troops during the night in the town of Al-Tal, while an explosion killed two in Daf al-Shouk area, also in Damascus province.

Army attacks on rebel positions continued elsewhere in Syria, with several people wounded and a number of houses destroyed when the Arida village in central Homs province was shelled, the Observatory said.

In the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, government troops reportedly carried out a number of raids and made arrests in the town of Al-Quriya.

On Monday's vote, against a backdrop of unrest which the Observatory says has killed more than 11,000 people since March last year, will do little to change the autocratic country, according to regime critics and analysts.



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