Suicide bomber kills 9 in Syria

As Syria’s civil war continues, the country’s security forces have been hit with yet another suicide attack. From Reuters:

The official SANA news agency said the blast had been the work of a suicide bomber, and had killed nine and wounded about 100, including guards, at what it called military installations. It said residences had been damaged.

State television broadcast footage of smoke rising over the city, pools of blood amid rubble, the damaged facades of buildings and twisted, smoking vehicles.

Opposition activists said the target was an intelligence base.

“It seems like a well-planned attack. The explosion hit the least guarded rear gate of the Military Intelligence complex … where the operatives keep their cars,” said one activist in Deir al-Zor.

State television called the blast part of a campaign funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar to topple Assad.

No group has claimed responsibility for the suicide attack, but the likelihood is that it was executed by the Al Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant, which has claimed credit for three other suicide attacks in the country. Although the group renounced a video that purported to be from Al Nusrah and that claimed credit for the twin suicide attacks in Damascus on May 10, Al Nusrah also did not deny carrying out the attack and may claim credit for that attack in the future.

It is true that the Assad regime is eager to characterize the violence in Syria as the work of al Qaeda backed by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries, as well as Lebanese Sunnis. But it is also true that Syria has been penetrated by Islamist terror groups. The Al Nusrah Front, despite claims by the Syrian Free Army and other dissidents that it is merely a front for Syrian intelligence, is a legitimate Islamist terror group. Al Nusrah has the backing of the established jihadist Internet forums, which indicates that the administrators are well aware of the group and its leadership.

The Syrian government has for years sponsored Sunni terror groups, such as Al Qaeda in Iraq, by allowing them to operate inside its borders, run training camps, and funnel foreign fighters, cash, and weapons to wage jihad in Iraq. While Al Nusrah hasn’t been directly linked to al Qaeda in Iraq, it is very likely that elements of the same network that was used to conduct terror attacks inside Iraq have now been turned against the network’s former state sponsor.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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