Dec. 23 - Syrian authorities blame al Qaeda infiltrators from Lebanon for lethal Damascus bombings that killed at least 40 people. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Suicide car bombers struck Damascus on Friday (December 23) killing 40 people, gutting buildings and sending human limbs flying in the bloodiest violence to hit Syria's capital in a nine-month-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad. The attacks, which state media blamed on al Qaeda, targeted two Syrian security sites and came a day after the arrival of Arab League officials to prepare for a monitoring team that will check whether Assad is implementing a plan to end the bloodshed. Friday's blasts in central Damascus signaled a dramatic new escalation in violence, which Syrian authorities blame on armed groups they say have killed 2,000 soldiers and security force members since popular unrest broke out in March.