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Syria Daily: 31+ Killed in 2nd Damascus Suicide Bombings Within Days

Syria Daily: 31+ Killed in 2nd Damascus Suicide Bombings Within Days
March 16
06:53 2017

Suicide bombers hit Justice Palace and popular restaurant in central Damascus


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UPDATE 1530 GMT: Well-placed local sources confirm to EA that, after the suicide bombings of the past week, the number of checkpoints in Damascus has passed 250.

The pro-opposition Orient News puts the number at 284.

A worker at a printing office said, “After the bombings yesterday, the streets of Damascus emptied out except for the security forces and police. Now, there are checkpoints everywhere and they are carefully inspecting the cars.”

A Damascus University student says:

People are mentally exhausted, struggling with the scrutiny and searches [of security forces]. Reserves are now being called up to shore up checkpoints. There’s much more traffic, and the security forces are exercising their power over the people.

You can see fear and terror in people’s eyes. There were bombings in [these] places, which means it could happen anytime, anywhere.

People are afraid that it will happen again, that we will see Damascus become another Iraq.


ORIGINAL POST: At least 31 people and scores are wounded in Syria’s capital Damascus in the second set of suicide bombings within five days.

The first suicide bomber detonated his explosives in the Justice Palace in Damascus’s Old City, killing 31 people and wounding 102. The second bomber targeted the popular restaurant Abu Ahmad in the al-Rabweh district, injuring 28, according to police sources. A third explosive device was defused near the President’s Bridge.

A local source says there were numerous deaths in the restaurant, although State media are not publishing this. Photos of the scene show severed limbs amid the blood and wreckage.

The suicide bomber attacked as a birthday party was taking place in the restaurant, on the banks of Barada river and a well-known tourist attraction.

Inside the Justice Palace:

JUSTICE PALACE BOMBING 03-17

Abu Mohammad al-Joulani, the military commander of the jihadist bloc Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, has promised a change in tactics in Syria’s conflict with attacks behind frontlines.

HTS claimed last Saturday’s double suicide bombings in southern Damascus that killed at least 40 people, mainly Iraqis. Reports conflicted over most of the casualties were “pilgrims”, the line of the Assad regime and the Iraqi Foreign Ministry, or pro-Assad militiamen.

The bloc, led by the faction Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, also claimed suicide bombings in Homs in late February that killed 32 people, including the head of the Military Security Branch, Brigadier General Hasan Daabol.

However, up to now the tactics have not included civilian-only targets such as a restaurant, and HTS has denied any involvement in Wednesday’s bombings.

The Assad regime asserted that the attacks pointed to their success against opponents. “The attack came as a retaliation against the latest victories of the Syrian army and the political victories in [talks in] Geneva and Astana,” Justice Minister Najem al-Ahma Ahmad said.

TOP PHOTO: Aftermath of Wednesday’s suicide bombing of restaurant in central Damascus


25 Killed — Including 14 in Single Family — in Airstrikes on Idlib

Pro-Assad airstrikes killed at least 25 people, including 14 in a single family, in Idlib Province on Wednesday.

The members of the al-Sayeh family died when a four-story residential building was destroyed by two airstrikes that hit the al-Qasour district of Idlib city.

Sixteen of those killed were children.

Dr Mustafa Mahmoud al-Sayeh, injured in the attacks, buried his wife, six children, and his brother’s family. He was planning to return with his family to al-Bab in Aleppo Province, but delayed the journey over landmines left behind when the Islamic State retreated from the city in late February.

IDLIB BOMBING 15-03-17


Political Talks Close After Opposition No-Show

Political talks in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana closed on Wednesday without any substantive discussion, after conditions were not met for opposition-rebel participation.

The opposition-rebel bloc had insisted on an effective ceasefire before the talks, the fourth since late January, resumed. With pro-Assad attacks continuing across Syria, two days of meetings could only present a regime delegation with Russia, Turkey, and Iran, the three powers brokering the discussions.

Alexander Lavrentiev, the head of the Russian delegation, told reporters that a proposal for a commission to draft a new Syrian constitution was considered; however, the lead regime negotiator, Bashar al Ja’afari, rejected the claim: “We did not discuss this at all.”

A Russian-Turkish-Iranian statement said there would be another session in Astana in early May.

Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry said an opposition-rebel delegation was expected to arrive in Astana on Wednesday. A rebel official confirmed that a “technical delegation” was en route but said it was not a negotiating team.

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About Author

Scott Lucas

Scott Lucas

Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.

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9 Comments

  1. matt
    matt March 16, 07:41

    Does this mean its no longer a civil war and now a policing issue?

    Reply to this comment
  2. K9
    K9 March 16, 21:55

    #Deraa: “1) Warplanes return make more airstrikes on the city’s liberated neighborhoods” – CombatChris1
    .
    I said once and I’ll say it again – rebels should not only begin using weaponised drones but that they should modified those weaponised drones so instead of one shell being dropped rebels can drop 2 or 3 (usually re-cycled unused Russian incendiary or white phosphorous munitions) and hand such modified/new weaponised drones to every company (ie units of 100+ men) commander who doesn’t have ATGM operator. And better still develop a whole fleet (ie groups 5 or 6) of such modified weaponised drones so they can be used to remotely attack (at night-time if those drones have thermal imaging cameras?) from the air regime convoys and check-points whilst rebel ATGMs/mortar-operators attack from the ground.
    .
    2) “Leaked recording from slain government fighter in Deraa suggests 50-60 regime KIA in first two days of new fighting” – JohnArterbury
    .
    Imagine KIA if rebels were also regularly using land-mine traps, weaponised drones, sleeper-cells as well as multiple deep-behind-the-lines special ops to complement their current offensive, forget 50 it’d be double that.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Mikey3d
    Mikey3d March 17, 00:08

    @k9
    Its over. All that is left is the shouting and the body count. With Russia and the USA coordinating, ISIS/AL NUSRA will be pushed into the underground. The Ruskies are willing to use extreme tactics to reach their objectives. The USA , under Trump will also employ robust measures. The Syrian conflict will quickly (one year) will peter out. There will be spectacular attacks, but thats the norm in the Middle East. The question is what happens with Assad, shiite merc militias, kurds, Erdogan, and the Iranian elements. Thats the end game.

    Reply to this comment
    • Woody
      Woody March 17, 01:53

      You are dreaming in technicolor. The conflict will morph, but won’t end for many years. There is now no endgame … just local warlords and continued violence.

      Reply to this comment
      • Mikey3d
        Mikey3d March 17, 02:18

        Just like Lebanon, Chechnya, Georgia, Sri Lanka, Angola, Mozambique,Congo, Sudan, Cabinda, Eritrea, Ogedan, Morocco, Rhodesia, Algeria, Chad,Bosnia, Kosovo, Cambodia, Vietnam, Argentina, Colombia, El Salvadore, Nicaragua, Peru, East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, Laos, Burma, etc. They all end. Educate yourself. Most ACTIVE Civil Wars have legs for less than than a decade. All sided get tired until one side realizes that resistance is futile, then they capitulate. If I could wager, the Baathists will relieve Assad of his duties in the next 12 months. He is a prisoner in his own country with few true allies. I could be wrong, we will see, but that is my perspective.

        Reply to this comment
        • Woody
          Woody March 17, 03:09

          Some of those wars are still going. Many lasted longer than ten years. And the ones that lasted longer than 4 years ended by mutual agreement rather than by capitulation of one side to the other.

          I think you should educate yourself first …

          Reply to this comment
  4. caligola
    caligola March 17, 00:18

    50+ civilians slaughtered in the bombing of a mosque in Sw Aleppo. US seems to be involved here. War crime number……….?

    Reply to this comment
    • Mikey3d
      Mikey3d March 17, 01:57

      No one cares. The pandora box had been opened. Robust offensive tactics are the new norm. An enemy combatant can surround himself with toddlers, it doesn’t matter. He will be attacked, its his choice. He cannot protect his family or friends from an agressive enemy. His supporters knows it. It’s total capitulation, take your chances with the victor, or he will exterminate you and your seed. World opinion had shifted with respect to the jihadis. Ask the World War 2 generation of Japanese or the Germans how it feels. Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas better realize it as well.

      Reply to this comment

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