Nine people, including an army officer and five soldiers were killed Sunday morning by armed " terrorists" in central Syria, Syria's official media reported, quoting a military source.
The six servicemen and three civilians were killed instantly when an armed group ambushed a bus carrying a number of army officers and soldiers at Moharda city in central Syria, the source said.
Seventeen others were wounded in the attack, some of them in critical conditions, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported.
It said the assailants showered the bus with a barrage of bullets before fleeing the scene.
A security patrol chased the assailants on Hama-al-Ghab highway, the source said, adding that an exchange of fire between the two sides killed three assailants and critically injuring the fourth. One security agent was also wounded, Xinhua reported.
The security agents captured a government car stole by the assailants a day earlier from the Radio and TV center at Saraqeb city, the source said. Four AK rifles and a large quantity of hand grenades and explosives were found inside the car.
Syria has been in unrest since mid-March when anti-government protests broke out in the southern province of Daraa and spread to other cities.
The Syrian authorities blamed the unrest on "armed groups and foreign conspiracy," and stressed that it would track down gunmen who have intimidated people and damaged public and private properties.