The Syrian Ministry of Transport said in an official statement that the train was struck by improvised explosive devices (IEDs). This caused a derailment. A fire also erupted in the locomotive and the phosphate containers.
“Terrorists infiltrated the railway site, between the areas of al-Fajwa and al-Basirah east of Palmyra, and planted several IEDs on the railroad leading to the phosphate mines in the area of Khunayfis in the eastern Homs countryside,” the statement reads.
According to the ministry, specialists are currently working to fix the railroad in order to resume the transportation of phosphate from Khunayfis’ mines.
Last year, the Syrian Parliament approved a contract allowing Russia’s Stroytransgaz to invest the phosphate mines in Homs for up to 50 years. The mines produce around 2.2 million tons of phosphate a year.
Earlier this month, a similar terrorist attack targeted a gas pipeline linking al-Shaer gas fields in eastern Homs with Ebla gas plant. Prior to that, a sabotage operation damaged five underwater pipes of Banias’ oil terminal on the Syrian coast.
No group has claimed responsibility for any of these three attacks, which were all carried out in a professional manner.