At least 13 dead after series of bombs in Syrian cities


At least 13 people have been killed in a string of bomb attacks inside government territory in Syria, according to state media.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group, which maintains a network of contacts inside the country, put the toll at 24 dead. Conflicting casualty figures are common in the Syria war.

The Sana news agency reported blasts in the coastal city of Tartus, the central city of Homs, a suburb of the capital Damascus, and the north-eastern city of Hasakeh.

Attackers detonated two bombs at the entrance to the government stronghold of Tartus along the international coastal highway, Sana said, killing five.

A car bomb at the Arzoneh bridge was followed by a suicide bomber wearing an explosive belt who targeted the gathering crowd. 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 14 people and injured dozens more.

The governor of Homs province said a car bomb struck a military checkpoint in the provincial capital, Homs, killing two soldiers and injuring four others, one critically.

The city, Syria’s third largest, is largely under government control, with only one neighbourhood still under opposition control. Monday’s bomb exploded in the government-held Bab Tadmor district, Sana said.

An attacker detonated his motorcycle at the Marsho roundabout in the north-eastern city of Hasakeh, killing five, Sana said.

Government military forces withdrew from the city in August after street battles with the Kurdish autonomous self-defence force for the region, the YPG. The YPG and its political wing, the PYD, inherited control of the city, though the state’s police force remained.

The Observatory said the blast killed three members of the Kurdish police force, the Asayesh, and two civilians.
Sana also reported an explosion in the Sabbourah suburb of the capital, Damascus, killing one. The Observatory said three people were killed.

There has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the blasts.

The Islamic State group claimed twin suicide bombings in the neighbouring coastal towns of Tartus and Jableh in May in which more than 160 people were killed.

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