At least eight people have been killed in a car bomb at a police officer's club in the Syrian capital Damascus. The attack came one day after the release of a scathing report on human rights abuses in the country.
About 20 people were wounded and eight killed when the explosion occurred earlier today. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an organization based in the UK with a network of sources in Syria, said that policemen were among the dead and injured.
Syrian state television said the blast had hit a vegetable market in the Masaken Barzeh district in northern Damascus but subsequently reported that a car had tried to ram into the neighboring police officer's club in the area, adding that it was stopped by guards.
"A suicide bomber then detonated his explosives, causing deaths and injuries," state television said, quoting a source in the interior ministry.
Car bombs have become a regular occurrence in Syria's war; a multiple bomb attack near the Sayyida Zeinab shrine south of the capital resulted in at least 71 deaths in January 2016.
Scathing human rights report
The blast came one day after an international rights group said that Syrian government forces and the Russian military had been carrying out daily cluster bomb attacks in the past two weeks in Syria, killing at least 37 people. The Human Rights Watch report said that cluster munitions had been used in at least 14 attacks across five provinces since January 26.
Some 98 States are part of a convention banning the use of cluster munitions. However, several countries - including Syria and Russia, as well as the US, China and Israel - have not signed the ban. Opposition activists have said that Russia has been using cluster bombs since the start of its aerial campaign in Syria on September 30.
ss/jil (AFP, AP)