An army soldier secures the site of a suicide attack in Tahrir Square, in central Damascus

Damascus bombing kills at least 21 people

A suicide car bomber killed 21 people on Sunday in a rare attack on the Syrian capital of Damascus, according to the monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Syrian authorities said that the car bomber was one of three intended for Tahrir Square, the city center. The others, state media reported, were intercepted by security forces, foiling a potentially larger attack.

The Syrian Minister of Local Administration, Hussein Makhlouf, hailed the security response as a “major success,” according to the Associated Press.

Attacks are not common in Damascus, the seat of power for President Bashar Assad. While the six-year war — which has claimed more than 300,000 lives — continues to ensnare most of the country, pro-government forces have held Damascus under Assad’s control.

Yara, who lives near the site of the attack, told The Guardian, “It was like war had returned after we felt that it had faded away. I haven’t left the house yet today – I’m not afraid any more, but I just want to do nothing today.”

No group has taken responsibility for the attack.