This evening, Syrian security forces raided an apartment in the al-Midan neighbourhood of Damascus and arrested 8 men who stand accused of planning bombing attacks. Local residents had tipped off the police who in turn were swift to respond.
According to an Al-Masdar source in Damascus, papers were found in the apartment suggesting plans to conduct terrorist attacks deep inside government-held neighbourhoods of the Syrian capital.
It remains unclear if the sleeper cell has ties to the Syrian Opposition or the Islamic State; however, the al-Midan district neighbours the Yarmouk Camp which is controlled by ISIS fighters who have been expanding their influence in the area. On Monday morning, the predominately Alawite cities of Jableh and Tartous were struck by bombs which killed and injured hundreds of civilians. ISIS later claimed responsibility for the terrorist attacks on the coastal cities. Syrian authorities are now on high alert to prevent further bombing attacks similar to the unprecedented ones conducted in Jableh and Tartous. In January 2012, a similar suicide bombing attack in al-Midan neighbourhood killed 26; however, the district has since been secured by the Syrian Armed Forces.