Ceasefire in tatters: Suicide bomb rocks Syria's capital

Syrian security personnel inspect wreckage after a bomb exploded in central Damascus Photo: APTN

Central Damascus has been attacked once again. What appeared unthinkable a few months ago is becoming a common event. It's not impossible. President Assad himself might have heard today's bombing - it wasn't so far from his home. I was on the scene shortly after the attack which came around 1.30pm local time.

People were just beginning to leave a mosque in the Midan area of the capital; an area where there have been regular protests against the regime, after Friday prayers and at other times. It is a stronghold of the opposition.

The streets were stained with blood and littered with shattered glass from a damaged police vehicle Credit: APTN

Dozens of riot police and troops were stationed under the flyover of a ring road, about 50 metres from the mosque. They were waiting to confront any demonstrators who might appear. Some were in vans, others mingling on the road outside.

A man approached. When he was asked for his ID, he reached inside his jacket and detonated an explosive belt.

The scene was strewn with body parts. Medical staff were picking pieces of flesh from the road and from the underside of the flyover. I was told at the scene that six security force members had died and more than 20 were injured.

President Assad might have heard the bombing, as it wasn't so far from his home Credit: REUTERS/Khaled al-Hariri

I saw many riot police clearly very shaken by what had just happened. Troops too. They were rubbing their faces, many sitting, looking numbed, others just staring at the pools of blood and body parts around them.

State TV is now saying nine people died.

Midan has been the site of frequent anti-government protests in the past Credit: APTN

What's significant about this bombing is not just that it happened in the centre of the capital city but the method of attack. Suicide bombing may be common in neighbouring Iraq; it hasn't been in Syria. Until now.

The ceasefire has been breached yet again. It is in tatters .The UN monitors,although based nearby, did not come to the scene of the explosion. Their mission has got off to a violent start.

More on this story