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May 9, 2021

Twin bomb blasts shake Damascus suburb

Two car bombs exploded in a loyalist town near Damascus on Wednesday, killing dozens and leaving a trail of destruction near the Syrian capital, state media reported, quoted by CNN.At least 45 people died and 120 were wounded in the bombings in Jaramana, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Syrian State TV, citing the Interior Ministry, put the death toll at 34, with 83 injured.Women and children were among those killed, the observatory said.Jaramana, a small town surrounded by fields, has provided a refuge for pro-government Syrians displaced in the civil war.The Local Coordination Committees of Syria reported a nationwide death toll of 65, including the people it said were killed in Jaramana. State media did not give a nationwide toll. At the same time the car bombs went off, two simultaneous explosive devices detonated in the al-Nahda and al-Qerayyat neighborhoods, both of which are in Damascus suburbs. Officials did not provide a casualty count in those areas. Jaramana residents are a mix of Christians and the Druze, the latter a minority offshoot of Shiite Islam.Government officials blamed the attacks on terrorists, a term Syria routinely uses for rebel fighters and extremist elements in the country.On the other hand, BBC reports that no group has said it was behind the bombings, and there was no immediately obvious military or government target.The population of Jaramana is mainly Christian and Druze, a heterodox offshoot of Islam. It is also home to many Palestinian and Iraqi refugees.Warplane shot downElsewhere on Wednesday, witnesses said rebel fighters had captured the pilot of a warplane shot down over Darat Izza, in the northern province of Aleppo. One of the agency’s reporters earlier saw a large explosion as the jet crashed near the town, BBC informs. Fighter jets earlier bombarded rebel positions in the western Damascus suburb of Darayya, the SOHR said.  The government army also reportedly shelled Zabadani, a town in the mountains north-west of the capital. The Syrian Revolution General Commission, an opposition activist network, said more than 50 shells had fallen on the town in 30 minutes, injuring several people.

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