Published: 23/05/2016 11:28 AM
Suicide bombings in Jableh and Tartous have killed and wounded dozens.
Photo: Tartous attack. (Facebook/Syrian Coast News Network)
BEIRUT – An unprecedented wave of terror attacks has rocked the Syrian coastal region, causing mass casualties as suicide bombings rocked Tartous and Jableh for the first time since the start of the civil war.
At least 121 people were killed in the seven explosions caused by car bombs and terrorists wearing suicide vests, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The monitoring NGO said that 73 civilians died in Tartous, while 48 lost their lives in the attacks that rocked Jableh, as the death toll from the shocking bombings are expected to mount due to the number of severely injured people.
The A3maq news agency affiliated with ISIS claimed responsibility for the deadly attacks on behalf of the transnational jihadist group, which has yet to issue an official statement on the bombings.
Monday’s bloody terror wave sparked fear among internally displaced refugees residing in the two towns, according to the SOHR, as “regime forces and militants loyal to them conducted random arrests in the two cities.”
A popular pro-Assad Facebook news page based in the coastal region appealed to residents not to make sectarian accusations, in reference to displaced Sunnis in the area.
Plumes of smoke rose over Tartous, which has witnessed little of the violence that has torn apart the rest of Syria, amid scenes of carnage after three nearly-simultaneous suicide attacks targeted the port city on Monday morning.
Photo: Aftermath of Monday’s bombing in Tartous. (Facebook/Syrian Coast News Network)
Syria’s state SANA news agency reported that a vehicle rigged with explosives detonated at the entrance of the New Bus Station of Tartous, one of the city’s transportation hubs. Immediately after the blast, a man wearing a suicide vest blew himself in the station, causing a number of casualties.
At nearly the same time, another suicide bomber outside the station also detonated himself, according to SANA.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights tracking developments in the war-ravaged reported that the attacks came “minutes after a number of explosions rocked Jableh,” a town approximately 50 kilometers north along the coast from Tartous.
Syrian state media video report on Monday’s attacks in Jableh. (SANA)
SANA reported in the morning that a number of rockets had struck Jableh, injuring civilians, after which at least four suicide bombings hit the town, which is located near the Hmeimim airbase that serves as a base for Russia’s air force in Syria.
“Two terrorist explosions occurred Monday morning at the main entrance of the city’s bus station,” the Syrian state news agency said.
A video uploaded by the Jableh News Network Facebook page shows damage in the city’s National Hospital following Monday’s attack.
It added that another explosion hit the local office of the state electricity company while yet another suicide bomber detonated himself at the city’s hospital.
NOW’s English news desk editor Albin Szakola wrote this report.