April 16, 2013

On Tuesday morning, a sticky bomb attached to a car in downtown Damascus detonated, destroying several vehicles. No group claimed responsibility, but citizen journalist Tameem a-Shami said Damascenes believe the regime is behind it. Ahmed Kwider spoke to a-Shami via Skype.

Q: Where was the blast in the capital Damascus?

A: The blast took place in al-Fahamah neighborhood, which is close to al-Baramkeh. It’s on the road that links [the city center] with Naher Aysha [Street] in al-Midan. It [also] goes to Daraa highway. The blast was on the main street, near the bakery and the footbridge.

Q: When did the explosion occur? How were the casualties and the damages?

A: [The explosion] happened this morning at 8:10. The injuries have not been documented and we still don’t know if there were any deaths. Three cars, parked there, and a 24-passenger [medium-sized] bus were burned.

Q: Who claimed the attack?

A: No group has claimed it.

Q: Who do you think is responsible for this blast?

A: Yesterday at midnight the regime planted an explosive in Jaramana, then they tried to defuse it in front of the citizens. It, however exploded, then killed and injured many people. We expect [today’s blast] is the same scenario.

Q: Why do you think this area was targeted?

A: Many people [stand in lines] at the bakery there. There’s always a traffic jam there too, because the army checkpoint is only 100 meters away.

Q: Who runs this checkpoint? Are they soldiers, security, or shabiha? How do you know?

A: They’re the regime’s shabiha and security. We know recognize them by their outfits, weapons and Alawite accents. We sent some civilians to these checkpoints to get us news and details.

There are many officers in Damascus from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah. They make appearances only during specific times; normally after 2 pm when many civilians are out. Their mission is to supervise the checkpoints and receive the civilians detained at the checkpoints. We don’t see them in the morning, at sunset, or when the situation is calm. They often disappear because they fear the attacks of the FSA, so they leave the Syrian soldiers to their fate to die [alone].