Syria: Deadly blast on military bus in Damascus

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The bus was hit as it passed under Jisr al-Rais bridge

A bomb attack on a military bus in central Damascus has killed at least 13 people, Syrian state media say.

The vehicle was targeted with two explosive devices as it passed under Jisr al-Rais bridge shortly after dawn, Sana news agency reported.

Although Syria has been embroiled in civil war for a decade, such attacks in the capital are increasingly rare.

Army shellfire also reportedly killed at least eight people in the opposition-held north-west soon after.

Several school children were among the casualties from the attack in the town of Ariha, in Idlib province, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group.

Idlib is the last stronghold of the rebel and jihadist groups that have been trying to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad since 2011.

The war has left at least 350,000 people dead, according to the United Nations, and caused half the population to flee their homes, including almost six million refugees abroad.

Wednesday’s bombing in Damascus was reportedly the deadliest in the city since March 2017, when at least 31 people were killed in a suicide attack claimed by the jihadist group Islamic State (IS).

Video from the scene showed the charred remains of the bus, with smoke billowing from its broken windows as firefighters worked to put out the flames.

Sana said a third explosive device was found planted on the bridge and defused by engineers.

The Syrian Observatory put the death toll from the bombing at 14 and said it was likely to rise because many of the wounded were in a critical condition.

No group has yet said it was behind the attack, but suspicion will fall on IS, which has attacked military vehicles in the east of the country this year. (BBC)

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