Live Updates: Suspected Islamic State Twin Blast Kills at Least 14

Live Updates

At least 14 people have been killed and several injured in a bomb blast that targeted a military bus driving through the Syrian capital on Wednesday morning.

The attack - the deadliest in Damascus for years - is believed to have been carried out by the Islamic State terror group but nobody has yet officially claimed responsibility. It follows a recent spate of attacks on government troops fighting to maintain control after President Bashar al-Assad's forces retook the vast majority of the areas from various terror groups.

Syrian state TV showed footage of the charred bus and images showed smoke from the soldiers hosing down the destroyed vehicle. An investigation into how the attack happened and who is responsible is ongoing.

Follow Newsweek's liveblog for all the latest updates...

Four children caught in Ariha shelling

It has now been confirmed that four children have died after shelling by Syrian government forces in Ariha city.

The total death toll now stands at 13.

Ariha death toll increases to 12

A dozen civilians have now been killed by shelling in rebel-held Ariha city in Idlib province - previously the most devasted area by conflict in the Syrian civil war over the past decade.

[GRAPHIC] Pictures show aftermath of hospital care for shelling victims

Critically injured civilians who were caught up in shelling by Syrian government forces were sent to hospitals across Ariha city.

Photographers captured the aftermath of the chaotic scenes, which shows a pool of blood on the waiting room floor.

At least 11 civilians killed after shelling by Syrian government forces

The death toll is expected to climb after government troops bombarded the rebel-held Ariha city, The New Arab reports.

The shelling from Syrian regime army outposts, which followed shortly after the blast in Damascus, hit several residential areas in the city, where jihadist-led rebels are in control.

UNICEF 'not able to confirm if children were among those affected' in blast

The agency's regional director for the Middle East and North Africa said that the attack in Damascus this morning "is yet another reminder that the war in Syria has not come to an end".

Earlier this morning, a bus came under attack in Damascus. While the attack took place on a crowded street, UNICEF is not able to confirm if children were among those affected.

Children should be protected at all times especially in times of conflict. https://t.co/NuyUcbOpFC

— Ted Chaiban (@TedChaiban) October 20, 2021

When was the last major attack on Damascus?

One of the last major explosions took place in 2017, when suicide bombers hit a judicial office building a restaurant, killing nearly 60 people.

The attacks were claimed by Islamic State group militants - the same group believed to be behind today's attack on Syria's military personnel.

The organization lost nearly all its territory in 2019 but continues to operate sleeper cells - mostly hiding in Syria's expansive desert.

Spotlight returns to Syrian conflict - with Russia firmly in vision

While the capital has come under attack from terrorists in the most serious incident for years, explosions and attacks from ISIS, government forces and outside interests continue.

According to emergency rescue charity The White Helmets, Russia "continues to bomb" towns and villages in the Northwest of the country.

Russia continues to bomb northwestern #Syria. Today, its warplanes bombarded #AlBara village, while the villages of #Qaqafin and #Alfatirah in the southern countryside of Idlib have been exposed to artillery attacks.#WhiteHelmets pic.twitter.com/BLmf9cKY2Q

— The White Helmets (@SyriaCivilDef) October 19, 2021

'A cowardly act': Damascus police commander condemns attackers

Major General Hussein Jumaa told state TV police force had cordoned off the area immediately and made sure there were no more bombs after multiple devices were found in the vicinity of the bus.

He urged people to inform police about any suspicious objects they spot.

Good morning and welcome to Newsweek's liveblog

The investigation into the blast continues and the death toll is likely to rise throughout the day as the scale of the attack becomes clear.

Follow Newsweek's liveblog throughout Wednesday for all the latest.