Syrian state media say that a bomb went off on a military bus near Damascus, killing at least 18 soldiers and hurting 27 more. “This morning, a terrorist planted an explosive device on a military bus in the countryside of Damascus and set it off,” a military source told the state-run news agency SANA.
A war watch group in Britain called the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the explosion happened on Thursday in the al-Saboura neighbourhood in the countryside of Damascus, on a road that leads to Beirut, the capital of Lebanon.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, and the Syrian government didn’t say anything about it.
It was one of a number of attacks on Syrian troops who were not on an active front line in the past few months. In June, 13 soldiers were killed in the northern province of Raqqa in an attack on a bus that was blamed on the ISIL (ISIS) group.
In May, a rocket attack on a military bus in northwest Syria killed 10 soldiers and hurt nine more.
Before, Syrian authorities blamed these kinds of attacks on ISIL, which has been active in southern and central Syria even though it no longer controls any territory in the country.
During the 11-year conflict, which began when the government violently put down pro-democracy protests, hundreds of thousands of people have died.
Syria is now split into control zones because of the war. Most of the territory is controlled by President Bashar al-troops Assad’s and their allies. But analysts worry that the opposition fighters will get stronger again.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a group that tracks the 11-year-old war and keeps track of casualties and military developments, said that 17 soldiers were killed in the blast.
Hundreds of thousands of people have died in Syria’s wars over the past 10 years, and the country is now in pieces. Many of the areas that had been taken over by opposition fighters have been taken back by Syrian government troops.