Daesh claims deadly Damascus car bomb

People gather at a site of a car bomb blast in Damascus, Syria, in this Jan. 24, 2019 file photo. — Reuters
People gather at a site of a car bomb blast in Damascus, Syria, in this Jan. 24, 2019 file photo. — Reuters

BEIRUT — Daesh (the so-called IS) said it was behind a deadly car bombing in Damascus on Monday, in its first such claim since regime forces expelled the militants from the capital last year.

State media reported earlier that a civilian was killed when a car bomb exploded in the capital's southern suburb of Qadam.

It was the latest in a spate of similar attacks to hit the Syrian capital in recent months, but the first to be claimed by Daesh since it was expelled from the city's southern outskirts in May 2018.

Photos from state news agency SANA showed a white car charred by the explosion.

"One civilian was killed when an IED planted in a car went off," it reported.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the attack targeted a senior official of the National Defense Forces, a pro-regime militia.

The official's driver died in the blast, according to the Britain-based monitor.

Bomb attacks have increased in Damascus and other regions under government control.

Pro-regime political analyst Taleb Ibrahim was the target of a car bomb attack last month that wounded his wife and son, SANA said.

That followed a civilian being killed and five others wounded in an April car bomb blast on a highway south of Damascus, according to the news agency.

In May last year, regime forces announced they had ousted Daesh from Qadam as well as the neighboring areas of Tadamun, Hajar Al-Aswad and the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk after a weeks-long offensive.

Last March, a US-backed Kurdish-Arab alliance expelled Daesh from their last patch of territory in eastern Syria, but they retain a presence in the country's vast Badia desert and still claim deadly attacks in the Kurdish-held northeast.

After Syria's war broke out in 2011, Damascus was hit by several deadly attacks carried out mainly by militant groups.

But the frequency of attacks decreased after regime forces recaptured environs of the capital held by rebels or jihadists last year, notably the former rebel bastion of Eastern Ghouta.

More than 370,000 people have been killed and several millions displaced since Syria's war erupted with the brutal repression of anti-government protests. — AFP