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Gunmen Kill Syrian Army General, UN Chief Condemns Bombings

Residents of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo gather outside a building damaged in one of the bomb blasts there on February 10.
The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) says gunmen have assassinated an army general in Damascus.

SANA identified the brigadier general as Issa al-Khawli and said he was also a doctor and the director of a military hospital.

The AP news agency reports that it is the first killing of a high-ranking military officer in the Syrian capital since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad's regime began in March.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has suicide car bombings in Aleppo, Syria which killed 28 people and wounded 235 others.

Ban extended his condolences to the families and friends of the victims of the bombing, which occurred on February 10.

He also called for a "comprehensive peaceful political solution" to the violence in Syria that has gripped the country since March last year.

The blasts came as government forces pressed ahead with an onslaught on the city of Homs, where opposition activists say hundreds of people have been killed in the past week.

The violence in Syria also spilled over into neighboring Lebanon where authorities sent security forces to the city of Tripoli on February 10 to stop fighting between supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

'Crimes Against Humanity'

In related news, the UN Secretary-General's special advisers "on the prevention of genocide" and "on responsibility to protect" are urging immediate action to end the violence in Syria, warning that some attacks could amount to crimes against humanity.

Francis Deng, an adviser on genocide prevention, and Edward Luck, an adviser on the responsibility to protect released a statement on February 10 saying that they are "alarmed by reports of the use of indiscriminate fire by Syrian security forces and associated militias against densely populated areas in Homs and other cities, resulting in high numbers of deaths and injuries."

The statement added that divisions on Syria within the Security Council -- which saw permanent members China and Russia veto a resolution designed to end the violence in Syria -- was not an excuse for further violence, and called upon the international community to prevent more atrocities.

Late on February 10, Saudi Arabia circulated a draft resolution on Syria reported to be similar to the draft Russia and China vetoed on February 4.

With agency reports
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