Friday 30 September 2016

Wave of bombings in regime-held areas of Syria kills at least 43

Albert Aji

Published 06/09/2016 | 02:30

Free Syrian Army fighters launch a Grad rocket from Halfaya town towards President Bashar al-Assad forces stationed in Zein al-Abidin mountain, Syria. Photo: Reuters/Ammar Abdullah
Free Syrian Army fighters launch a Grad rocket from Halfaya town towards President Bashar al-Assad forces stationed in Zein al-Abidin mountain, Syria. Photo: Reuters/Ammar Abdullah

A wave of bombings in several Syrian cities yesterday, including a suicide attack claimed by Isil, killed at least 43 people in government-controlled areas.

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The blasts were in the coastal city of Tartus, the central city of Homs, the suburbs of the capital Damascus, and the northeastern city of Hasakeh.

The attacks were timed closely together, but authorities have not determined whether they were linked. Isil claimed responsibility for the blast in Hasakeh. Areas controlled by President Assad's forces have seen several bombings and other attacks during the country's five-year civil war, with many claimed by al-Qai'da-linked militant groups.

One of yesterday's attacks took place in the heavily ­guarded suburb of ­Sabbourah, marking a major security breach.

The Syrian Arab News Agency (Sana) said the attack killed one person, while the opposition-run Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said three people were killed.

"It's an area that houses officers and their families. Even before the revolution it was carefully guarded," said opposition media activist Yousef al-Boustani, referring to the 2011 uprising against Assad, which began with peaceful protests demanding reform.

The Britain-based Observatory, which maintains a network of contacts inside Syria, put the overall death toll at 47. Conflicting casualty figures are common in the Syria war.

Attackers detonated two bombs along the international coastal highway to the government stronghold of Tartus, Sana said, killing 35. A car bomb at the Arzoneh bridge was followed by a suicide bomber, who targeted a crowd that was gathering. The city, a stronghold of support for President Bashar Assad, is home to a major Russian naval base.

The Observatory said the twin blasts killed 35 people, including an army colonel, and wounded dozens more.

A survivor at the al-Bassel Hospital told state TV the blasts occurred near a checkpoint on the highway. "My car caught fire and army soldiers pulled us out of the car," he said.

The governor of Homs province said a car bomb struck a military checkpoint in the provincial capital, killing three soldiers and a civilian, and wounding 10 others.

Irish Independent

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