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Syria: Bus blast near Damascus leaves many soldiers dead

Eighteen soldiers reported dead after an explosive device detonated on a military bus in countryside near the capital
Syrian security forces stand guard as a charred bus is removed from the site of a bomb attack on an army bus in Damascus on 20 October 2021 (AFP)

Eighteen soldiers were killed and 27 wounded when an explosive device detonated on a military bus in the Damascus countryside on Thursday, state media said.

"A military bus in the suburbs of Damascus was hit by a terrorist bombing using an explosive device that was planted previously, which led to the deaths of 18 soldiers," the official Sana news agency said. "Twenty-seven others were wounded."

Security incidents have been on the rise around Damascus and other parts of Syria controlled by the government. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

A similar explosion in February left one Syrian army soldier dead.

Nearly one year ago, a blast killed 14 soldiers near Jisr al-Raes in the capital's city centre.

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Syria's civil war has left hundreds of thousands of people dead and driven millions from their homes, since starting in 2011 with a brutal crackdown by President Bashar al-Assad on anti-government protests. 

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based activist group, more than 91,000 government soldiers have been killed since the start of the war, as well as around 67,000 pro-Assad militia fighters.

The vast majority of civilians - more than 300,000 according to a June 2022 UN report - have been killed by pro-Assad forces.

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