DAMASCUS / AMMAN, October 20 (Reuters) – A bomb targeting a military bus in Damascus killed at least 14 people on Wednesday, state media reported, while witnesses and rescuers said the Syrian army shelling in the rebel-held northwest killed 11 civilians.
The violence appears to mark one of the bloodiest days in months in Syria, where a decade of conflict has killed hundreds of thousands and fractured the country.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the Damascus bomb, which exploded as a bus carrying soldiers crossed a bridge in the middle of the capital during the morning rush hour, TV reported. of state.
Syrian state television posted images of the charred bus cabin on its Telegram account, and rescuers could be seen removing body parts. The channel reported that at least 14 people were killed and three injured.
Two explosive devices exploded while the bus was on the Hafez al-Assad bridge, he added. A third device was defused by an army engineering unit in what officials called a terrorist explosion.
Bombings in Damascus have been rare since forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad crushed rebel enclaves around the city. Aided by a Russian military presence and Iranian Shiite militias, Assad now controls most of the country.
Northwestern Syria is the last major stronghold for rebels fighting Assad. Witnesses and rescuers said the shelling hit residential areas in the rebel-held town of Ariha shortly after the Damascus bombing.
Among the victims were several schoolchildren, witnesses and medical workers in the opposition enclave said.
Turkish state agency Anadolu said government forces and Iranian-backed groups targeted a marketplace in downtown Ariha.
ISIS militants continue to operate in the Syrian desert, where they have launched several attacks this year against army vehicles.
Reporting by Suleiman al-Khalidi in Amman and Jonathan Spicer in Turkey; Written by Maher Chmaytelli / Tom Perry; Editing by Angus MacSwan
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