Car bomb explosion kills Damascus mufti west of Syria’s capital
A prominent Syrian Muslim cleric has lost his life when a bomb blast targeted his car outside the capital Damascus.
The explosion that killed Damascus Mufti, Sheikh Mohammed Adnan Afyouni, took place in the city of Qudsaya, located 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) west of Damascus, on Thursday evening, Syria’s official news agency SANA reported.
The cleric was first reported wounded and then declared dead soon after.
It was not known who had planted the bomb, and no group immediately claimed responsibility.
Syrian Minister of Endowment and Religious Affairs, Mohammed Abdul-Sattar al-Sayed, denounced Afyouni’s death, calling it a terrorist act.
“No matter how hard they (terrorists) would try through firepower and abhorrence, they would not be able to silence the voice of love which Sheikh Adnan projected across Damascus, its countryside and Syria. They cannot stifle true Islam, as well as the voice of truth and moderation…,” he added.
Sayed highlighted that the war on Syria has not ended, and that his ministry and its scholars will do their utmost to shield all religious institutions and mosques from the invasion of extremism.
Sheikh Afyouni had apparently been a key figure in the Syrian government's reconciliation deals with foreign-sponsored militant groups on the capital's outskirts.
He was one of the mediators of the August 2016 deal under which militants in the city of Daraya, situated 8 kilometers (5 miles) southwest of Damascus, surrendered after a four-year bloody battle.