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Syrian Regime Warplanes Bombed Gas Station in Ain Issa, Killing at Least 30

September 20, 2012 at 12:00 AM EDT
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MARGARET WARNER: The fighting in Syria flared back into the headlines today. Airstrikes in the north touched off a fiery blast that killed dozens of people. Reports by Syrian human rights and opposition groups ranged from at least 30 dead to more than 50.

Dark plumes of smoke filled the air from a massive explosion in Ain Issa, 25 miles from the Turkish border. Opposition activists said a Syrian fighter jet had attacked a gas station, triggering the blast.

And Turkey beefed up its forces on its side near a key Syrian border outpost that rebels seized yesterday.

On the diplomatic front, the U.S. and other members of the group “Friends of the Syrian People” met in the Netherlands to discuss tightening economic sanctions on Syria in a bid to push President Bashar Assad from power.

URI ROSENTHAL, Netherlands: What I can say is that I stick to the message that, with regard to Mr. Assad, it’s not the question whether he will leave office, but when he will leave office.

MARGARET WARNER: But, in Damascus, Syria’s minister of national reconciliation insisted other countries are the real obstacles to peace efforts by new U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.

ALI HAIDAR, Syrian minister of national reconciliation (through translator): Syrians are fully cooperative with him. His crisis is because of the credibility of the superpowers that are disabling the project of solving the Syrian crisis.

They have to become more realistic in accepting future solutions, those solutions that could be face-saving and could propose a solution for the Syrian crisis.

MARGARET WARNER: In the meantime, Syrian warplanes kept up their bombardment of residential areas near Hama and elsewhere.

And Amnesty International released a report accusing the Syrian military of indiscriminate targeting of civilians. It said the aim may be to punish towns and cities presumed sympathetic to the rebels.