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BEIRUT (AP) — A bomb exploded near a Syrian military bus Thursday, killing 18 soldiers and wounding 27 others, Syrian state media reported citing a military source.

Similar attacks over the past years have killed and wounded dozens of soldiers in government-held parts of the war-torn country. Last March, militants attacked a military bus near Palmyra in central Syria, killing 13 troops and wounding 18 others.

Syrian authorities in the past have blamed such attacks on Islamic State group militants who have been active in southern and central Syria, despite losing territorial control in the country since 2019.