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Car bomb blast near UN hotel in Syria

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Car bomb blast near UN hotel in Syria
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Moscow: At least three people were injured when a car bomb went off Wednesday near a hotel in Damascus used by the UN monitoring mission in Syria, reported Al Jazeera citing Syrian state TV.

The blast occurred in the Abu Remanih area, where a military depot and the trade union headquarters are located, the report said. The Syrian military's Central Security Command is also located nearby.

It struck on the eve of a UN Security Council meeting Thursday in which the council will discuss the future of the UN observer mission in Syria, whose mandate expires Aug 19.

The incident took place as UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos has arrived in Syria to discuss ways of getting aid to people caught up in the conflict.

The head of the UN observer mission in Syria, General Babacar Gaye, had held a press conference Monday in the same hotel, the Dama Rose, the report said.

Al Jazeera quoted a spokesperson for the opposition Local Coordination Committees in Damascus as saying a series of smaller explosions preceded a bigger one.

The UN spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

Faisal Mekdad, the Syrian deputy foreign minister who toured the area shortly after the blast, said none of the UN staff was hurt.

"This is a criminal act that shows what kind of attacks Syria is being subjected to," Mekdad was quoted as telling reporters at the scene. "Such explosions will not affect Syria."

IANS

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