Syrian military: Attack on bus kills 13, most of them troops

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — An attack on a civilian bus in northern Syria on Monday killed 13 people, including 11 soldiers, and wounded three troops, Syrian state media reported, quoting an unnamed military official.

According to state news agency, SANA, the attack occurred in the province of Raqqa, which was once controlled by the extremist Islamic State group. The report did not say whether the bus was ambushed and attacked with machinegun fire, or whether it was hit by a missile or a roadside bomb.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the attack had all the hallmarks of IS militants who have carried out similar attacks over the past months, leaving dozens dead or wounded.

The unnamed military official said the bus was en route to the central province of Homs when the “terrorist attack” occurred early in the morning, killing 11 soldiers and two civilians, and wounding three troops.

The militants proclaimed a so-called “caliphate” in a third of both Iraq and Syria in 2014 and the city of Raqqa was their de-facto capital. They were defeated in 2019 but IS sleeper cells still carry out deadly attacks.

Syrian authorities regularly blame such attacks on the Islamic State group. The militants’ sleeper cells have been active in eastern, northern and central Syria.