Conflict & Justice

Syrian Prime Minister Wael Nader Al-Halqi survives suspected assassination attempt in Damascus (VIDEO)


People gather at the scene of an explosion in the Mazzeh district of the Syrian capital Damascus on April 29, 2013, which is believed to have targeted the prime minister's convoy.



Syrian Prime Minister Wael Nader Al-Halqi has survived an apparent assassination attempt in the capital Damascus.

An explosion in the upscale neighborhood of Mazzeh — where according to The New York Times many senior officials live — appears to be the latest attack targeting a top official in President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Halqi has represented Assad in a diplomatic campaign to back the regime against Syrian rebels waging a civil war.

The Times noted that he said of the US in a recent interview:

"We are partners in fighting terrorism." 

The attack on Halqi's convoy comes a week after Ali Balan, the government’s chief coordinator of emergency aid distribution, was killed by gunmen with silencer-equipped guns at a restaurant in the same neighborhood. 

And in July, an explosion at a security headquarters killed several key aides to Assad.

Al Jazeera quoted state television as saying: 

"The terrorist explosion in al-Mazzeh was an attempt to target the convoy of the prime minister. Doctor Wael al-Halqi is well and not hurt at all."

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based activist group, said Halqi's bodyguard had been killed.

However, Halqi himself conducted a brief interview with state television in which he appeared shaken but assured the public he was unhurt.

It was unclear whether the device was planted or part of a suicide bombing, the Associated Press reported. The AP cited an unnamed Syrian official as saying that the explosion was caused by a bomb placed underneath a parked car in the area.

An earlier report said it had been a suicide attack.