Three car bombs struck Damascus on Sunday, killing at least 20 people and rattling the Syrian capital. These suicide attacks are the largest to hit Damascus since March when ISIS targeted a court house and restaurant.
One of the suicide bombers blew himself up at Tahrir Square, near Bab Touma in central Damascus. He was reportedly being encircled by paramilitary forces at the time.
The other two bombers were pursued and neutralized by security forces on the road to Damascus International Airport, southeast of the city.
According to a letter sent by the Syrian Foreign Ministry to the UN Secretary-General, the number of casualties has gone up to 20 and may rise higher.
State-owned news agencies said that the casualty toll had been minimized because the military had prevented “the terrorists from reaching their intended targets.” It is believed that the suicide bombers aimed to target busy commercial areas on the first day after the Eid al-Fitr holiday.
Footage broadcast by state-owned television stations showed the roads around Tahrir Square scattered with debris and several badly damaged cars, one of which had been reduced to a pile of twisted metal.
Damascus has been spared the large-scale battles that have devastated other major Syrian cities. However, dozens of people have been killed in bombings and mortar attacks, particularly on the outskirts of the city.
In mid-March an attack which killed 32 people was subsequently claimed by ISIS. It came days after two explosions left 74 dead in the capital’s Old City. Both were claimed by the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham alliance, led by the former al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Fateh al-Sham.
Agencies and ARA Staff
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