Huge explosion shakes Damascus

A bomb blast hit the capital of war-torn Syria on Sunday and a “terrorist” was arrested, state media said, in a rare attack in the city that has been largely insulated from violence.

A Britain-based war monitor said a “huge explosion” near a military intelligence office in southern Damascus had left a number of people dead and wounded.

State news agency SANA said that a “bomb blast” had caused an explosion “without leaving any victims”.

“There is confirmation of reports that a terrorist has been arrested,” it said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said that “the explosion took place near a security branch in the south of the city”.

“There are some people killed and injured but we could not verify the toll immediately,” it said.

It was unclear if the blast was caused by a bomb that was planted or a suicide attack, according to the monitor, which relies on a network of sources inside the country.

It said that shooting followed the explosion.

Syria is locked in a civil war that has killed more than 360,000 people and displaced millions since a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests in 2011 spiralled into full conflict.

Damascus has been largely spared the worst of the violence during the country’s brutal nearly eight-year war, but several bomb attacks have shaken the city.

Another bombing Sunday killed three people and wounded nine others in the northern Syrian city of Afrin on the first anniversary of a Turkish offensive on the Kurdish-majority region, the Observatory said

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