* Bombings in 3 Damascus districts kill, wound dozens
* Cameron suggests Assad exit deal "could be arranged"
* Brahimi warns Syria could become a new Somalia
* Renewed violence kills more than 100
By Mohammed Abbas and Khaled Yacoub Oweis
JEDDAH/AMMAN, Nov 6 Bombs exploded in three
districts of the Syrian capital Damascus on Tuesday, killing and
wounding dozens, and gunmen shot dead the brother of the
parliament speaker in the latest rebel attack on a figure
associated with the ruling elite.
The opposition said at least 100 more people were killed
elsewhere in the civil war, and Britain suggested offering
President Bashar al-Assad immunity from prosecution as a way of
persuading him to leave power.
"Anything, anything, to get that man out of the country and
to have a safe transition in Syria," British Prime Minister
David Cameron told Al Arabiya news network in Abu Dhabi before
flying on to Saudi Arabia.
Syrian state media said at least 10 people were killed and
30 wounded by an explosion in the Hai al-Wuroud district in the
northwest of the capital.
The hilltop neighbourhood is situated near a barracks and
housing for elite army units, and is home to members of Assad's
Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam. Syria's rebellion in
is drawn mainly from the Sunni Muslim majority.
Opposition activists said three explosions were heard in Hai
al-Wuroud and at least 15 people killed. A car bomb also
detonated near a shopping mall in the mixed neighbourhood of Ibn
al-Nafis, killing and injuring several people, they said.
On Tuesday evening, activists reported another car bombing,
this time near a mosque in the Sunni working-class district of
al-Qadam in south Damascus, causing dozens more casualties.
Buildings were damaged and bodies buried under debris that
clogged the streets, the activists told Reuters.
"Lots of people were hit inside their apartments. Rescue
efforts are hampered because electricity was cut off right after
the explosion," said Abu Hamza al-Shami.
"There is a state hospital nearby but we are afraid to take
the wounded there because they could be liquidated."
Bomb attacks along sectarian lines have escalated in the
19-month-old anti-Assad uprising. Last month several bombs went
off during the Muslim Eid holiday near mosques in Sunni
districts and the Damascus suburbs, killing and injuring dozens.
ATTACKS ON TOP OFFICIALS INCREASE
Officials and their families are increasingly being targeted
by assassins as violence spreads in the capital. Victims have
included parliamentarians, ruling Baath party officials, and
even actors and doctors seen as Assad supporters.
State television said gunmen had assassinated Mohammed Osama
al-Laham, brother of the speaker of parliament, in Damascus's
Midan district. No group claimed immediate responsibility.
Peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi warned that Syria, where some
32,000 people have died in the upheaval, could end up a
collapsed state like Somalia, prey to warlords and militias.
Opposition factions were meeting in Qatar in an effort to
forge a common front. The opposition has remained divided
between Islamists and secularists, civilians and armed fighters,
and between exiles and those working inside the country.
More than 100 people were killed across the country on
Tuesday, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a
pro-opposition body based in Britain that compiles activist
Air strikes killed 17 people, including women and children,
in the Damascus suburb of Kfar Batna, it said. Video footage of
the raid's aftermath posted on the Internet, which could not be
verified, showed a toddler with a severed head and the torso of
a young man, his head and limbs gathered near him by rescuers.
Insurgents killed 12 soldiers and wounded 20 in an attack on
a convoy of off-road vehicles in the northern province of Idlib.
Air strikes and artillery barrages unleashed by the Syrian
military in the last few weeks have wrecked whole districts of
the capital, as well as parts of towns and cities elsewhere.
Yet, for all their firepower, Assad's forces seem no closer
to crushing their lightly armed opponents, who in turn have so
far proved unable to topple the Syrian leader.
"Of course I would favour him facing the full force of
international law and justice for what he's done," Cameron said
of Assad. "I am certainly not offering him an exit plan to
Britain. But if he wants to leave he could leave; that could be
It was unclear if Cameron had spoken to other U.N. Security
Council members about the idea - which could involve offering
Assad immunity from prosecution if he accepted asylum in a third
country. Nor was it clear what country would take him.
The U.N. human rights office has said Syrian officials
suspected of committing or ordering crimes against humanity
should face prosecution at the International Criminal Court.
U.N. investigators have been gathering evidence of atrocities
committed by rebels as well as by Assad loyalists.
The United Nations has put Syria's government on a "list of
shame" of countries that abuse children, saying Assad loyalists
have killed, maimed, tortured and detained children as young as
nine. Leila Zerrougui, Special Representative of the
Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, told Reuters
on Tuesday the body was also investigating the opposition.
"We have received information that the opposition also
violates children by using them in bombings, and by bombing
areas where there are children," she said.
Brahimi, the U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria, told the
London-based al-Hayat newspaper he did not expect ethnic or
sectarian partition there. "What I am afraid of is worse ... the
collapse of the state and that Syria turns into a new Somalia."
Russia and China have blocked three Western-backed U.N.
Security Council draft resolutions against Assad. At the United
Nations, diplomats quoted a senior U.N. official as telling the
Security Council that Brahimi had urged Russia to be "more
pro-active" in resolving the Syrian crisis.
U.N. political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman also told the
closed-door meeting of the council that he had credible reports
of government forces using cluster bombs, the envoys said.
Human rights groups have reported in the past that Syria
used cluster munitions. Such weapons, which spread bomblets that
explode over an area, are banned by most countries. But Syria -
like the United States, Russia and China - has not signed up to
the treaty outlawing them. Human rights groups view their use in
areas populated by civilians to be a war crime.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged the Syrian
opposition to enter talks with the authorities to end the crisis
and abandon a precondition that Assad step down.
"The most important thing is stopping the violence
immediately. If it is more important to the other side to change
the Assad regime, then they want to continue the bloodbath in
Syria," Lavrov said in Amman after meeting former Syrian Prime
Minister Riad Hijab, who defected to Jordan in August.
Hijab said Assad's removal was "the only way out".
Assad's foes have failed to unite, making it harder for the
outside world to support or arm them.
Prominent dissident Riad Seif has proposed a new 50-member
unity council. But the head of the widely criticised Syrian
National Council (SNC), which is based abroad, said it should
retain a "central role" in any opposition configuration.
A Doha-based diplomat said SNC members feared their group
risked losing influence in the new civilian body, which would
later choose an interim government and coordinate with armed
rebel groups. Seif's initiative is to be debated on Thursday at
the opposition meeting in Qatar.