At least 20 people were killed and 30 people were wounded Friday in a car explosion that rocked the town of Suq Wadi Barada, near Damascus. The explosion occurred near a mosque.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told AFP that although the town is held by rebel forces, Syrian President Bashar Assad’s troops were positioned right outside it.
“At least three of the dead were children,” said Rami Abdel Rahman from the organization.
The state-run SANA news agency reported the blasts but pointed the finger at “terrorists” which is how the Assad regime refers to the opposition.
Earlier Friday, Syrian state media reported that 40 rebels were killed near Damascus in an ambush by Assad forces.
The ambush came hours after Assad’s forces captured the town of Hatitat al-Turkomen south of the city, securing a key highway that links the capital with the Damascus International Airport.
State-run SANA news agency said 40 rebels were killed in the ambush, which took place near the Otaiba area, and that a large arms cache was seized, including anti-tank rockets. The area is part of a region known as Eastern Ghouta, which was the scene of a horrific chemical weapons attack in August, when several hundred people, including many women and children, were killed.
An unidentified Syrian army officer in the area told state-run Al-Ikhbariya TV station that there were foreign fighters among the dead and that the ambush followed an intelligence tip.