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Syria’s state media says attack on bus in its south kills 28 civilians

Report calls incident a terrorist attack, without providing details; area where it occurred may have active Islamic State presence

Illustrative: Syrian engineering troops check for mines in the M5 highway in Aleppo, Syria, February 15, 2020. (SANA via AP)
Illustrative: Syrian engineering troops check for mines in the M5 highway in Aleppo, Syria, February 15, 2020. (SANA via AP)

DAMASCUS, Syria — An attack on a passenger bus in southern Syria on Wednesday killed 28 civilians and injured others, according to the Syrian state news agency.

The state news agency SANA didn’t say how the attack was carried out, but called it a terrorist attack on the bus traveling in the Kobajjep area in southeastern Deir el-Zour province.

The bus was traveling between the central Homs province and Deir el-Zour to the east. The report offered no further details.

The area was once controlled by Islamic State militants, who despite losing territorial control in Syria, are still active in the desert and rural areas of eastern and southern Syria.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, said attackers ambushed three buses after setting up a checkpoint along the road. The Observatory’s director, Rami Abdurrahman, said the attackers were believed to be IS militants who laid explosive devices on the road and then opened fire at the buses. He said the assault killed 30, all of them soldiers returning home for the holidays.

The Observatory’s claims could not be verified. The group has regularly been accused by Syrian war analysts of inflating casualty numbers, as well as inventing them wholesale.

Syrian state media rarely reports military casualties.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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