40 Killed as Rebel Car Bomb Hits Mosque in Neutral Syria Town

Town Had Agreement With Moderate Rebels to Stay Out of War

At least 40 people were killed today in a car bombing against a Sunni mosque in the town of Rankous, on the outskirts of Damascus. The timing, just as worshipers were leaving Friday prayers, aimed at maximizing the death toll.

So far no group has claimed credit for the attack, though state media attributed it to a “dispute between terrorist groups.” Rankous is not a rebel-held town, however, and has tried desperately to stay out of the war.

Rather, Rankous is said to have a long-standing deal with moderate rebel factions to leave them alone and not use their territory for transit of fighters or weapons.

While it is merely speculation to assign blame at this point, several Islamist factions, most notably the al-Qaeda-run ones, have been fighting the moderates pretty heavily lately, and may feel that such moves would undermine the town’s confidence in dealing with the moderates to remain neutral in a war that increasingly is drawing in anybody and everybody.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.