Car bomb hits Damascus: Syrian state media

Al-Adawi is a disctrict in Damascus. (AFP)
Updated 25 January 2019
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Car bomb hits Damascus: Syrian state media

Meanwhile, a car bomb exploded in a northeastern neighborhood of the Syrian capital on Thursday causing damages but no casualties, state media said, the third such blast in a city under regime control this week.

State news agency SANA said the bomb hit the Al-Adawi neighborhood just north of the central Old City district. A witness said the blast occurred near a hospital and security forces were examining a blown-up blue car in the street.

SANA reported “a terrorist bombing in the Adawi area with an explosive device planted in a car, causing material damage but no casualties.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the blast hit near the embassy of key government ally Russia.

The Britain-based war monitor said four people were lightly wounded. On Tuesday, a car bomb detonated in the coastal city of Latakia, near Assad’s ancestral village, killing one person and wounding 14, state media reported. 

On Sunday, a bomb exploded near a highway at the edge of Damascus and authorities arrested one attacker. Syria’s war has killed more than 360,000 people and forced more than half its pre-war population from their homes since it started in 2011 with the bloody repression of anti-government protests that dragged in global powers.

Though Assad has regained control over most of Syria with Russian and Iranian help, attackers have struck in cities he controls with suicide blasts and car bombs.

Latakia and central Damascus have stayed in the military’s hands throughout Syria’s eight years of war, avoiding the airstrikes that battered other big cities.

The Syrian regime in May retook a final scrap of territory held by Daesh in southern Damascus, cementing total control over the capital for the first time in six years.


US weighing options on American Daesh sympathizer in Syria

A member of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) stands guard on top of a building on February 17, 2019, in the frontline Syrian village of Baghuz. (AFP)
Updated 20 February 2019
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US weighing options on American Daesh sympathizer in Syria

  • Neither option would likely pass muster in the cases of US citizens, who enjoy strong legal protections under the Constitution

WASHINGTON: The United States said Tuesday it wanted to ensure foreign terrorists remain off the battlefield as it weighed options on an American detained in Syria who says she wants to return home.
The United States has urged European powers to take back hundreds of their citizens who fought with the Daesh group in Syria, but acknowledged the situation was complex in the rare case of an American terrorist.
Hoda Muthana, a 24-year-old from Alabama who became a prominent online agitator for the extremists, said in an interview published Sunday with The Guardian that she had been brainwashed online and “deeply regrets” joining the movement.
While declining to discuss Muthana’s case specifically, State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino said that the status of US citizens detained in Syria “is by definition extremely complicated.”
“We’re looking into these cases to better understand the details,” he told reporters.
Palladino said that the United States generally did not see a different solution between what to do with US fighters and with foreigners, saying the fighters pose “a global threat.”
“Repatriating these foreign terrorist fighters to their countries of origin, ensuring that they are prosecuted and detained — that’s the best solution, preventing them from returning to the battlefield,” he said.
The situation of foreign terrorists detained by US-allied Kurdish forces has taken a new urgency as President Donald Trump plans to withdraw US troops from Syria.
The Syrian Democratic Forces say they may have to refocus on fighting Turkey, which has vowed to crush Kurdish fighters it links to separatists at home.
Trump has contemplated reopening the US military base at Guantanamo Bay to take in new foreign inmates, while Britain on Tuesday revoked the citizenship of a female terrorsist who wanted to return home with her newborn baby.
Neither option would likely pass muster in the cases of US citizens, who enjoy strong legal protections under the Constitution.
Muthana, who was married three times to terrorists and has a son with one of her husbands, fled her family in 2014 to join the Daesh group in Syria, where she took to Twitter to urge attacks on fellow Americans.
In the interview with The Guardian, Muthana said that she was “really young and ignorant” when she joined Daesh and has since renounced radicalism.
“I believe that America gives second chances. I want to return and I’ll never come back to the Middle East,” she told the newspaper.
Hassan Shilby, a lawyer for Muthana, told ABC television’s “Good Morning America” that the young woman had been “brainwashed and manipulated” and is “absolutely disgusted” by the person she became.