Kafr Sousa: Sensitive district in Damascus targeted by Israeli strikes

Kafr Sousa is considered a gathering point for security centers and sensitive headquarters in the Syrian capital - 2014 (From Damascus/Flickr)

Kafr Sousa is considered a gathering point for security centers and sensitive headquarters in the Syrian capital - 2014 (From Damascus/Flickr)


The name of the Kafr Sousa district has repeatedly surfaced over the years when discussing Israeli bombardments targeting the Syrian capital, Damascus. This district has been the scene and site of targeting more than once, influenced by its location’s specificity and its security level significance.

Part of the district, known as Tantheem Kafr Sousa, is ideally held in the minds of Syrians in terms of urban planning and location. This image is to some extent consistent with reality; the buildings are multi-story, streets are wide and clean, and there is a unique architectural appearance that certain wealthy districts retain.

Situated in the heart of Damascus, under government scrutiny, Kafr Sousa is home to the Prime Minister’s office building, adjacent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Kafr Sousa forms a convergence point for vital and important institutions, as well as commercial centers in Damascus. For example, opposite to the prime presidency stands the Al-Assad University Hospital, in close proximity to the Mazzeh University compound.

Syrian and Iranian security headquarters, a significant Iranian “cultural center,” and frequent visits by leaders of the Lebanese Hezbollah, before the Syrian revolution, are all factors and elements that subject the district to strict security surveillance, not sparing it from Israeli targeting.

Massive targeting

Last Wednesday, Kafr Sousa was subjected to an Israeli assault that resulted in the death of two civilians and wounded another, according to what was stated by the Ministry of Defense in the regime’s government.

On February 19, 2023, an Israeli airstrike targeted a security headquarters in Kafr Sousa. A security source told the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) that barrages of missiles launched from the direction of the occupied Syrian Golan targeted some points in and around Damascus, including residential districts inhabited by civilians, causing the death of a soldier and wounding 15 civilians.

In 2008, the same district witnessed the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh, one of the most prominent leaders of Hezbollah, with a car bomb attack. Additionally, an Israeli journalistic report published on January 28, 2021, spoke of a western intelligence agency’s operation in Damascus, which involved storming a headquarters belonging to the Quds Force of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), within the district.

The Israeli website Intelli Times reported at the time that the raid was carried out four months prior in Kafr Sousa against what is known as “Unit 840” affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in Syria, which the Israeli intelligence revealed its presence in May 2019.

Iranian officials in the district

A location in the district was targeted by Israel a year ago when a missile attack hit a meeting of Iranian officials promoting programs to develop drones and missile capabilities for the Syrian regime.

Reuters agency reported on February 22, 2023, citing a source close to the regime’s government, that the strike targeted a gathering of Syrian and Iranian technical experts in drone manufacturing, without resulting in the death of any Iranian officials.

The targeting at the time affected the meeting center, an apartment, and a residential building, leading to the death of a Syrian engineer and an Iranian official “of lower level.”

According to another source, the Iranians participated in the technical experts’ meeting at an Iranian military facility in a basement within a security complex, and one of the casualties was an engineer at the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center, considered by some western countries to be a military institution producing missiles and chemical weapons, despite the regime’s denial.

Experts and analysts at the time speculated that the bomb used in the attack was a “Spice” type, given the accuracy of the targeting and the limited damage it caused.

In January 2017, Kafr Sousa also experienced an explosion heard throughout the capital, after which the regime announced that a suicide bomber detonated themselves among people, resulting in the death of 10 individuals, mostly military personnel, among them Colonel Munther Haider.

In January 2018, a Parliament member spoke about moving the People’s Assembly’s headquarters to Kafr Sousa after constructing an alternative to the original premises in al-Salihiyya, built in the 1920s during the French Mandate period in Syria.

For years, the regime has been removing military and security barriers that impede traffic on the main road of the district. This began in 2017 when two security barriers were removed, one beside Sham City Center mall towards al-Mouwasat Square, and the other from the southern ring road towards the mall.


To the south of Damascus, just three kilometers away from the presidential palace and 500 meters from the Iranian embassy, lies Kafr Sousa, one of the old neighborhoods of Damascus, and the name originates from a Syriac word “Kufarsusyah” (with the pronunciation emphasis on the first letter). The word consists of two parts, the first, ‘Kufar,’ meaning farm, and the second ‘Susyah,’ meaning horses – hence the meaning “Horse Farm.” It was mentioned as “Kufar Susyah” in Mu’jam al-Buldan by Yaqut al-Hamawi.

Kafr Sousa is about six kilometers away from the center of Damascus (Al-Marjah area). It is neighbored by the districts of Mezzeh, Qanawat, Midan, and al-Qadam, and is part of the two zoning areas located in the general outline of the city of Damascus, as per Legislative Decree “66” of 2012, which stipulated their creation.

Despite being a convergence of branches and security centers, Kafr Sousa quickly engaged in the peaceful popular protests that called for political change and the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad’s regime, spreading to most Syrian provinces since 2011.

The Abdul Karim al-Rifai Mosque became famous for demonstrations observed at the beginning of the popular movement, which was met with security suppression, halting protests and pushing residents to demonstrate in still ongoing areas like Midan, Daraya, and Nahr Aisha.


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