Syria

Violence in the Syrian Arab Republic continues unabated as another major explosion caused by a car bomb killed and injured many people in the core of the capital city Damascus. Bombings such as these have become a frequent occurrence in the two-year-old civil war, leaving a stark reminder that jihadist groups are among the most successful fighters opposing the Assad regime. Underscoring Western concern at the presence of such jihadist groups, the main fundamentalist rebel outfit – Jabhat al-Nusra – released a statement declaring its allegiance to Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri. At the same time, Syria has rejected an appeal by UN chief Ban Ki-Moon, who has deployed a team of chemical weapons experts to undertake an investigation inside the country after allegations of chemical weapons use were traded by the Syrian government and various rebel factions. (April 8, 2013 BBC News; April 9, 2013 The Daily Star; April 10, 2013 Reuters)