Three car bombings have struck Damascus, according to state media, killing at least eight people and injuring a dozen others in the biggest such attack in the Syrian capital since a series of suicide attacks in March.
One of the suicide bombers blew himself up at Tahrir Square in central Damascus after being encircled by the authorities on Sunday.
State TV said eight people were killed and at least a dozen others wounded in that attack.
The Disappeared of Syria
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), which monitors developments through a network of activists on the ground, put the death toll at nine.
The other two car bombs were pursued and destroyed by security forces on the road to Damascus airport southeast of the city.
State TV said the casualty toll had been minimised because the security forces had prevented “the terrorists from reaching their targets”, saying they had aimed to target busy areas on the first day back to work after the Eid al-Fitr holiday.
Footage broadcast by state TV from Tahrir Square showed roads scattered with debris, several badly damaged cars, and another one that had been turned into a pile of twisted metal.
Footage broadcast another of the blast sites showed what appeared to be the remains of a person and badly damaged vehicles outside a mosque in the Baytara traffic circle near the Old City.
Damascus has been spared the large-scale battles that have devastated other major Syrian cities during the country’s six-year civil war.
But dozens of people have been killed in bombings, particularly on the outskirts of the city.
In mid-March, bomb attacks on a courthouse and restaurant in Damascus killed 32 people. They were claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.
That came days after two explosions that left 74 dead in the capital’s Old City and were claimed by the hardline Hayat Tahrir al-Sham alliance, led by the former al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Fateh al-Sham.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies