A major explosion struck in the Syrian capital, while eight intelligence officers were reportedly killed in another attack in the south
A bomb exploded in a central district of Damascus on Wednesday, killing at least eight people, Syrian state media reported.
Official news agency SANA said the bomb detonated at the entrance to the headquarters of the country’s railways authority near central Hijaz square at midday. Eight people were killed and at least 50 were wounded in the blast, it added. It quoted unmanned officials as blaming “terrorists” for the attack, a term used by President Bashar Assad’s government to refer to the rebels fighting to overthrow him.
State TV broadcast images showing several wounded people walking away from the site of the blast, passing apartment buildings and shops with their windows blown out.
In a similar incident southeast of the capital, state-run Al Ikhbariya TV said an explosion went off in the city of Sweidah, causing a number of casualties. It did not give a number. If confirmed, it would be the first attack targeting a predominantly Druse city.
Syria’s civil war has taken increasingly sectarian overtones in the past year as predominantly Sunni Muslim rebels fight a government dominated largely by Alawites, a sect of Shiite Islam to which Assad belongs. Syria’s Christians have been targeted in previous attacks because Sunni rebels perceive them as siding with Assad.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Wednesday’s attacks. A suicide car bombing on Wednesday killed eight intelligence officers in the southern Syrian city of Sweida, a Druze bastion under regime control, a monitoring group said.
“A suicide attacker detonated himself in a car bomb in front of the air force intelligence headquarters in Sweida, killing the intelligence branch chief and seven other officers,” said Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman.
Sweida province has for the most part escaped Syria’s brutal conflict, which in 31 months has killed more than 120,000 people and forced millions more to flee their homes.
State news agency SANA also reported the attack, citing a police source who said “eight citizens” were killed and 41 others injured when “terrorists” detonated a car bomb in Sweida.
The regime uses the term “terrorists” to refer to opponents and rebels fighting to depose President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
The Druze are a minority community in Syria, most of whose members have stayed out of the anti-Assad revolt.
Assad’s regime claims to protect Syria’s minorities against foreign-backed Islamists !!