Suicide bombers strike Syrian capital

2017-03-15 21:03
In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency, journalists in Damascus gather at the main judicial building which was attacked by a suicide bomber. (AP)

In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency, journalists in Damascus gather at the main judicial building which was attacked by a suicide bomber. (AP)

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Damascus - Suicide bombers hit the main judicial building and a restaurant in Damascus on Wednesday, killing at least 30 people and spreading fear across Syria's capital as the country's civil war entered its seventh year with no end in sight.

The attacks bore the hallmarks of Syria's al-Qaeda affiliate and reflect a renewed effort by the extremist group to use insurgent tactics against President Bashar Assad's forces in a bid to recover lost momentum.

The first attacker, reportedly dressed in a military uniform, struck inside the Justice Palace, located near the famous and crowded Hamidiyeh market. The explosion left bodies lying amid pools of blood and shattered glass in the building's main hall, where a picture of President Bashar Assad hung on one of the walls.

The official news agency, SANA, said another suicide explosion about an hour later struck a restaurant in the Rabweh district of Damascus, an area known for its restaurants and cafes, leading to multiple casualties, mostly women and children. Syrian TV showed overturned plastic chairs and tables at the restaurant with bloodstains on the floor.

Insurgent factions

The Ikhbariyeh TV channel said the attacker was being chased by security agents when he ran into a restaurant and detonated his explosives' vest there.

The bombings were the latest in a spate of deadly explosions and suicide attacks targeting government-controlled areas in Syria and its capital. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for either attack, but other, similar attacks in recent weeks were claimed by al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria, which has come under pressure lately amid infighting with other insurgent factions in Syria and airstrikes by the US-led coalition.

The attacks came as Syrians mark the sixth anniversary of the country's civil war, which has killed more than 400 000 people and displaced millions of others. The conflict began in March 2011 as a popular uprising against Assad's rule but quickly descended into a full-blown civil war that has left large parts of the country in ruins. The chaos allowed al-Qaeda and later the Islamic State group to gain a foothold in the war-torn nation.

Read more on:    al-qaeda  |  syria  |  syria conflict

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