The authorites found the stockpile on Wednesday in the village of Khan Al-Shih, 25km south of Damascus. The Syrian information minister's aide Ahmad al-Haj Ali told Aljazeera the cache contained only light arms.

 

"The weapons were the kind that can be discreetly collected," he said, adding this suggested that the scale of the attacks in Damascus on Tuesday was less than those witnessed elsewhere in the region.

 

Earlier, Syrian security forces killed two attackers and wounded two others in a gun battle in Damascus after the group detonated a car bomb in the city's diplomatic quarter. 

 

A Syrian policeman and a woman bystander were also killed in the clash in the suburb of Mazza. An uninhabited building that formerly housed UN offices was damaged in the explosion.

 

Message

 

The aide said the attack was meant to send a message that no place was safe these days. 

 

"The attack also indicates that US interests may be targeted anywhere" 

Ahmad al-Haj Ali,
aide to information minister

 "The attack also indicates that US interests may be targeted anywhere," Ali said.

 

Residents said the armed group had used rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles.

 

"I heard two blasts around 15 minutes apart and then security forces came in and there was a firefight," said one local resident.

   

"We were working in the library and heard lots of gunfire and explosions," said one foreign student close to the scene.

"Everyone was terrified and we ran out of the building to see what was happening."

   

Syria has seen little violence under the tight security maintained by the government of President Bashar al-Asad after he took over from his father in 2000, although there was fighting between security forces and restive Syrian Kurds last month.