Syria’s Rebels Turning to Homemade Explosives for Bombings

Overnight Attack Targets Shi'ite Mosque in Damascus

Despite recent reports that they are awash with foreign cash and able to buy advanced weaponry on the black market, Syria’s rebels are growing increasingly fond of bombing attacks using homemade explosives.

The latest reports indicate that the explosive devices are being made from fertilizer and other chemicals available locally, with heavy bolts implanted within to act as shrapnel once detonated. The rebels were eager to show off their weaponry in recent media appearances.

Car bombings were used in multiple attacks today, including one which targeted a Shi’ite shrine in Damascus. Various reports claimed that the attack was either aimed at the mosque, popular with Bashar Assad’s sect, or a police station down the street. Either way, 14 people, apparently all bystanders, were wounded.

Which is the most concerning part of the trend toward improvised explosives, that they are more indiscriminate in who they kill. The shrine hit today is one of the holiest in Shi’a Islam, reportedly the burial place of Mohammed’s granddaughter. Such an attack is sure to increase sectarian tensions in the nation.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.