Suicide bomber kills 6 national army soldiers in Syria: Monitor

AFP , Saturday 27 Jul 2019

A suicide bomber killed six national army soldiers Saturday in the southern province of Daraa, in a rare deadly attack against the cradle of the uprising that sparked Syria's war, a monitor said.

The bomber, who was riding a motorcycle, blew himself up at a military checkpoint killing the six soldiers and wounding several other people, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Syria's state news agency SANA also reported a suicide bombing but said it happened during an "army raid" that targeted "terrorists", a term used by authorities to describe rebels and jihadists.

SANA said several soldiers were wounded when "a terrorist detonated an explosive belt during an army raid".

It was not immediately clear who was behind the blast, but pro-government forces in Daraa province face explosions and gunfire on a near daily basis, although they are usually not deadly.

Earlier this month, six soldiers were killed in an explosion that targeted an army convoy near Yadud village, some seven kilometres (four miles) outside the provincial capital of Daraa city, according to the Observatory.

Russia-backed government forces last summer retook the province, following a deadly bombardment campaign and surrender deals that saw part of the population board buses to a northern opposition holdout.

Government institutions have since returned, but army forces have not deployed in all of the province.

And local anger has grown after hundreds were detained despite the so-called "reconciliation deals", and many others forcibly conscripted into President Bashar al-Assad's army.

In March, dozens of people took part in a protest after a statue of the president's late father, Hafez al-Assad, was erected in Daraa to replace one destroyed by protesters at the onset of the 2011 uprising.

Syria's eight-year conflict, which evolved from a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests into a full blown civil war involving regional and international players, has killed more than 370,000 people.

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