DAMASCUS, February 21 (RIA Novosti) - A Syrian bomb squad on Thursday defused a car bomb in central Damascus that was supposed to have been detonated next to the scene of a powerful explosion that killed at least 40 people earlier in the day, an eyewitness told a RIA Novosti correspondent.
The eyewitness said he had spotted a parked minibus not far from the scene with a man sitting behind the wheel and ran to help him.
“As an ordinary Syrian I rushed to help and pulled the driver out. He was wearing a suicide belt,” the witness said.
Security officers detained the purported terrorist and bomb disposal experts removed about one ton of explosives from the bus.
A representative of Syrian security agencies confirmed this report to RIA Novosti, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Syrian state television said at least 53 people were killed and 237 injured when a car exploded at a checkpoint between the Russian Embassy and the central headquarters of the ruling Baath party.
Syria's main opposition group, the National Coalition, said it was not responsible for the attack.