Two bombs mounted on a bus carrying Syrian security forces exploded in Damascus during Wednesday’s morning rush hour, killing 14 people and wounding another, a military official said.
It was the deadliest attack in Damascus in recent years, and very rare since government forces in 2018 seized the outskirts of the city once held by rebels in Syria’s decade-long conflict.
State media previously described the attack as a roadside bomb explosion. But an unnamed Syrian military official said the explosion was caused by multiple bombs previously mounted on the exterior of the vehicle. A third bomb fell from the bus and was dismantled by troops after the initial two explosions, the official said.
No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but scores of insurgents and jihadists still live within the country’s borders and are trying to topple President Bashar Assad.
It is not clear whether the bombs were detonated remotely or when they were about to explode. The military official, quoted in state media, said the two bombs went off just before 7 a.m. local time. It was not immediately clear whether all the dead were passengers on the bus.
The two bombs exploded at a busy intersection in the Syrian capital, near the main bus transfer point under a bridge known as the President’s Bridge. Passengers congregate and travel to various parts of the capital and its suburbs from this location.
“This is an act of cowardice,” Damascus police commander Major General Hussein Jumaa told state TV. He added that police forces immediately surrounded the area and made sure there were no more bombs. He urged people to report to the authorities if they saw a suspicious object.
Jumaa said one of the injured had died from his wounds on Wednesday night bringing the death toll to 14.
Assad’s forces now control large parts of Syria after receiving military assistance from his allies, Russia and Iran. [ab/ka]