3 Jul 2017

Suicide bombing kills 20 in Syrian capital

9:11 am on 3 July 2017

A car bomb killed 20 people in Damascus and wounded dozens more in the first such bombing in the Syrian capital since a series of jihadist suicide attacks in March.

A suicide bomb attack in the Syrian capital Damascus 2 July killed 20 people.

Two car bombers were stopped but a third blew himself up. Photo: AFP

State media said police had been chasing three suspected car bombers that were trying to enter the capital. Police stopped and detonated two of the vehicles, but the third driver entered Tahrir square in the east and blew himself up after he had been encircled in the area.

The authorities said the car bombs were meant target crowded areas of the capital on the first day back to work from the Eid al-Fitr holiday.

Footage broadcast by state TV from the blast that caused the fatalities near the Old City showed roads scattered with debris, several badly damaged cars, and another one that had been turned into a pile of twisted metal.

Syria's foreign ministry said the blast that killed 20 people in the Bab Touma area near the Old City had also wounded dozens of women and children.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

Charred vehicles at the site of a suicide bomb attack in the Syrian capital Damascus.

Charred vehicles at the site of the suicide bomb attack. Photo: AFP

Damascus has remained mostly under the control of President Bashar al-Assad, and had relative security in recent years even as the six-year-long civil war has raged on in nearby areas.

However, the capital has experienced a number of suicide bomb attacks.

In March it was hit by two separate, multiple suicide bomb attacks, one claimed by Islamic State and the other by the Islamist insurgent alliance Tahrir al-Sham.

Syrian government forces, which have defeated rebel fighters in several suburbs of Damascus over the last year, are currently battling insurgents in the Jobar and Ain Tarma areas on the capital's eastern outskirts.

A rebel group accused the army of using chlorine gas in the fighting on Saturday. The army denied the claim as fabrications.

- BBC / Reuters