Two bombs exploded in the Syrian capital of Damascus during rush-hour traffic, killing 14 people just after the country reopened for tourism, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday.
The explosives were attached to a bus transporting Syrian troops and injured several other people around the busy intersection, according to the AP. In a separate incident, the government launched an artillery shell attack on a town with the last rebel colony that killed 10 people, including four children and one woman.
“Shocking reports of heavy civilian casualties in Ariha city in southern Idlib, where shelling by Syrian government forces/allies hit a market & roads near schools as students were on their way to school at the start of the day,” U.N. Deputy Regional Humanitarian Coordinator Mark Cutts said on Wednesday.
#Syria: Shocking reports of heavy civilian casualties in Ariha city in southern Idlib, where shelling by Syrian government forces/allies hit a market & roads near schools as students were on their way to school at the start of the day. pic.twitter.com/IrRaPmBX77
— Mark Cutts (@MarkCutts) October 20, 2021
No group claimed responsibility for the first attack, though several jihadist and insurgent groups are active in Syria, the AP reported. Syrian President Bashar Assad deployed military forces to rid Damascus suburbs of insurgents in 2018, and explosions in the region have since decreased. (RELATED: Despite Terror Threats, Syria Reopens To Tourists)
“Today’s violence is yet another reminder that the war in Syria has not come to an end. Civilians, among them many children, keep bearing the brunt of a brutal decade-long conflict,” UNICEF said in a statement. “Attacks on civilians may be a violation of international humanitarian law. Attacks must not be directed against children.”
An unknown, increasing number of people were injured in the shelling, according to UNICEF. The bus bombing was among the most violent since a truce between Turkey and Russia, reached in March 2020, though the truce has been violated on several occasions, the AP reported.
It remains unclear whether all of those who died in the bus bombing were aboard the vehicle or if they were bystanders, according to the AP. A third bomb was reportedly attached to the bus but fell off and was disarmed by Syrian troops.
“It is a cowardly act,” Damascus police commander Maj. Gen. Hussein Jumaa told state TV, the AP reported. Jumaa provided the updated death toll of 14 after one person was initially listed as wounded later succumbed to their injuries.
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