"Two theories are developing on little evidence so far," Josh Landis, a
leading American analyst on Syria, said. "One is that the bombers were
targeting a state security center. The other theory is that they were
targeting Shi'ites. So far we don't know what the truth is."
The Syrian government reported that 17 people were killed and 14 others
were injured in the rush-hour bombing in southern Damascus. Syrian state
television said the pickup truck was filled with 200 kilograms of
"This was an act of terrorism," Syrian Interior Minister Bassam Abdul
Majid said. "We cannot accuse any party. There are ongoing investigations
that will lead us to those who carried it out."
Syrian intelligence's Palestine Branch has been commanded by Gen.
Suleiman Dayoub. Dayoub was identified as close to former military
intelligence chief Gen. Assaf Chawkat, the brother-in-law of Syrian
President Bashar Assad.
Military intelligence was said to operate two facilities for the
assembly of car bombs. Syrian opposition sources said many of the car bombs
produced by military intelligence were later employed in attacks against
pro-Western politicians in Lebanon.
The Washington-based Reform Party of Syria said the casualties from the
latest car bombing consisted mostly of Syrian intelligence agents. RPS
suggested that the explosion appeared to have been engineered by elements
within the Assad regime rather than Al Qaida.
"The target in question is a low-level, low-security target for any
attempt by terrorists to take action against," RPS said. "Many more
important and less guarded targets exist inside Syria that would have made a
larger impact, if attacked, than a garage depot for a security apparatus."
"These incidents happen everywhere and do not mean a security breach,"
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al Moualem said. "Be assured that security in
Syria will remain alert for the safety of its civilians and territory."