DAMASCUS / AMMAN, October 20 (Reuters) – A bombing of an army bus in Damascus on Wednesday left at least 14 dead, state media reported, the deadliest bombing in the capital Syrian for years, while the army bombed Idlib at the hands of rebels 11 civilians, according to rescuers.
The attack on the rebel-held town of Ariha, which took place shortly after the bombing of Damascus, caused the highest number of civilian deaths in the Idlib region since March 2020, the said. Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
A decade of conflict in Syria has killed hundreds of thousands of people and fractured the country.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the Damascus bombing, which hit a bus carrying military personnel in the center of the city at around 6:45 am (03:45 GMT), state television reported.
A military source quoted by state media said the bus was detonated by two bombs that had been attached to the vehicle in advance. A third device was defused by an army engineer unit.
Syrian state television posted images of the charred bus cabin on its Telegram account, and rescuers could be seen removing body parts.
The attack occurred as the bus passed near a bridge bearing the name of President Hafez al-Assad, who died in 2000, the father of current President Bashar al-Assad.
“We will prosecute the terrorists who committed this heinous crime wherever they are,” Interior Minister Mohamad al-Rahman said in statements reported by state media.
Dozens of people were killed in Damascus in 2017 in several suicide attacks claimed by jihadist groups, including two against police stations that the Islamic State group claims to have carried out.
Attacks in Damascus have been rare since the military crushed rebel enclaves around the city with support from Russia and Iranian-backed forces in 2018. Aided by his allies, Assad now controls most of the country .
ISIS militants still operate in the central and eastern deserts of the Syrian Desert, where they have launched several attacks this year against army vehicles.
Northwestern Syria is the last major stronghold for rebels fighting Assad. Witnesses and rescuers said shelling hit residential areas in rebel-held Ariha town shortly after the Damascus bombing.
Among the victims were several schoolchildren, witnesses and medical workers in the opposition enclave said. About thirty people were injured.
Turkish state agency Anadolu said government forces and Iranian-backed groups targeted a marketplace in downtown Ariha.
After struggling to make progress, the UN-backed efforts to reach a political settlement to the war took a step forward on Sunday when the UN envoy to Syria said the government and the opposition had agreed. to draft a new constitution. Read more
Reporting by Suleiman al-Khalidi in Amman and Jonathan Spicer in Turkey; Written by Maher Chmaytelli / Tom Perry; Editing by Angus MacSwan
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