Syria conflict: at least 40 killed in bombings on government-held areas

468 desk, September 5: At least 40 people have been killed in four bombings in government-held areas of Syria and one in a city dominated by Kurdish forces, state media report.

The attacks took place between 08:00 and 09:00 (05:00-06:00 GMT) around Damascus, Homs, Tartous and Hassakeh. It was not clear if they were linked.

The deadliest incident was outside Tartous, on the Mediterranean coast.

Tartous, which hosts a Russian naval base, is a stronghold of President Bashar al-Assad’s Alawite sect.

A news agency affiliated to the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) said it was behind the Hassakeh attack, which allegedly targeted Kurdish militiamen.

‘Crowd targeted’

Syria’s official Sana news agency reported that 30 civilians were killed and 45 others injured in the Tartous countryside on Monday morning.

First, a car bomb was detonated on the Arzoneh motorway bridge, a local police source was cited as saying. Then, as a crowd gathered at the scene to help the wounded, a suicide bomber detonated his explosive belt, the source added.

Tartous had been relatively unscathed by Syria’s five-year civil war until May, when a suicide bomb attack on a bus station by IS militants left almost dozens dead.

In the central city of Homs, four civilians were killed and 10 injured when a car bomb exploded at the entrance to the Bab Tadmour district, Sana reported.

The blast damaged a number of nearby homes and set cars alight, it added.

One person was meanwhile killed in a bombing on the Sabboura-Bajja road outside Damascus, a police source told Sana.

In Hassakeh, an explosives-packed motorcycle was blown up at a roundabout, killing five civilians and injuring two others, Sana said.

The Kurdish Popular Protection Units (YPG) militia took near complete control of the north-eastern city last month after a week of clashes with government troops.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based group that monitors the conflict in Syria through a network of sources, put Monday’s death toll at 47.

Source: BBC