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>> Amid the rubble of an explosion in Damascus, graffiti on a broken wall reads 'Assad Syria'. Around it, locals sweep up in the aftermath of a suicide bombing. The blast is thought to have killed at least seven people according to local media reports citing authorities. The attacker striking near the old city district on the first day back after the holiday to mark the end of Ramadan.
Police say they pursued three vehicles en route to the city's center, intercepting and destroying two of them. But one bomber escaped, detonating his explosives and killing seven people. It's the biggest such attack in the Syrian capital since March. Damascus rarely sees this kind of violence. It's the seat of power for the president, and Bashar al-Assad and his allied militias exercise firm control over the city.
But having largely defeated rebel fighters here over the last year, government troops are now focused on fighting in the eastern outskirts of the capital. That leaves reinforcements within the city stretched. And in it's seventh year of war, the heart of Assad's power is far from secure.