At least 18 are believed to have been killed and some 13 wounded when a suicide bomber detonated his device close to Tahrir Square, Damascus, on Sunday, July 2. Details surrounding the incident remain unclear. According to state news sources, the death toll was minimised because security forces were able to prevent two carb bombs targeting the busiest areas of the city; the cars reportedly blew up in what authorities have said was a controlled explosion on the south-east road to Damascus airport, on the outskirts of the city. The third car was able to enter the eastern Sahat Al-Tahrir district, where it exploded after being surrounded by authorities. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The attack was likely intended to target crowds on the first day back to work following the Eid al-Fitr holiday. The last suicide attacks to hit the capital were in March, when at least 32 were killed in a suicide attack at a restaurant and the Palace of Justice courthouse at Hamidiye neighbourhood, in central Damascus, which followed two explosions in the capital’s Old City that left 74 dead. Damascus’ suburbs are often targeted, while attacks in the city center are rare.
Syria is enmeshed in a complex civil war that started between the Assad government and opposition forces in March 2011. Today, the conflict in Syria involves many parties, including the Syrian government, the Jordanian government, the Turkish government, the Russian government, a United States-led coalition, and numerous armed groups on the ground (including the Islamic State) with competing goals.
Due to extremely poor security conditions, Western governments generally advise against all travel to Syria, with some countries banning all travel to the country. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to any travel to the country.