Bomb attack kills 13 Syrian military personnel: state media

Syrian state TV reports 13 military personnel killed, several others wounded in attack during rush hour in Damascus.

Two roadside bombs have exploded near a bus carrying troops in the Syrian capital Damascus, killing at least 13 military personnel and wounding three others, state TV reported.

The attack early on Wednesday was the deadliest in Damascus in years, and a rare event since government forces captured suburbs formerly held by opposition fighters in Syria’s 10-year-long conflict.

Syrian state TV showed footage of the charred bus in central Damascus, saying the blasts occurred during rush hour when people were heading to work and school.

Two explosive devices went off as the bus was near the Hafez al-Assad bridge, it said, adding a third device was defused by an army engineering unit in what officials said was a “terrorist” blast.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

Security forces inspect the site of an explosion in central Damascus, Syria October 20, 2021. Firas Makdesi/Reuters]

“It is a cowardly act,” Damascus police commander Major General Hussein Jumaa told state TV, adding that a police force had cordoned off the area immediately and made sure there were no more bombs. He urged people to inform authorities about any suspicious object they see.

There have been several attacks this year on army vehicles in eastern Syria by suspected ISIL (ISIS) fighters who still operate in the sprawling desert area.

The attack is the deadliest in the capital since a bombing claimed by ISIL hit the Justice Palace in March 2017, killing at least 30 people.

In August, Syria’s state media said a short circuit triggered an explosion in the gas tank of a bus carrying soldiers, killing one and wounding three.

Blasts in Damascus have been rare since forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad took control of rebel enclaves around the city. Helped by Russia’s military presence and Iran’s militias, al-Assad now controls most of the country.

Syria’s conflict, which began in March 2011, has left more than 350,000 people dead and displaced half the country’s population, including five million who are refugees abroad.

People clean debris at the site of an explosion in central Damascus [Firas Makdesi/Reuters]

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