[QODLink]
Middle East

Syria rebels launch string of suicide attacks

Four bombings in Qalamoun area kill at least seven Syrian army soldiers, day after regime took nearby strategic village.

Last updated: 20 Nov 2013 15:43
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Four suicide car bombs have struck Syrian regime targets in the Qalamoun region north of Damascus, killing at least seven soldiers, a monitor and state news agency SANA said.

Wednesday’s attacks come a day after troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad drove rebels from the nearby strategic village of Qara.

The attacks were claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Al-Nusra Front, two Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported two attacks in the town of Nabek.

"At least seven regime troops were killed in the two attacks and five others are in critical condition," Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said.

A Syrian security source told the AFP news agency that there was just one explosion at a checkpoint in Nabek.

"The soldiers at the checkpoint stopped a suspicious car and the driver, who was a suicide bomber wearing an explosive belt, tried to escape but was shot dead by soldiers," the source said.

"However, the vehicle exploded," the source added, saying there had been "victims."

Meanwhile, SANA reported two suicide attacks in front of the Bassel hospital in Deir Attiya, a majority Christian town in army control north of Nabek.

"Several guards were killed, then the terrorists broke into the hospital and tried to destroy the equipment but the army managed to chase them down," said SANA.

Hezbollah involvement

The Observatory said the rebels had entered the hospital and to capture a wounded officer but were unsuccessful. The group did not report the two car bombs at Deir Attiya.

Government forces backed by Lebanon's Hezbollah have launched a major assault on Qalamoun, a mountainous region straddling key supply lines between Damascus and Homs, as well as rebel smuggling routes criss-crossing the border with nearby Lebanon.

Fighting raged elsewhere in Qalamoun, mainly around the rebel bastion of Yabrud, which the army shelled Wednesday, and Deir Attiya.

Jets launched air strikes on rebel positions around Deir Attiya, said the Observatory, while ongoing clashes killed at least eight opposition fighters.

An estimated 120,000 people have been killed in Syria's uprising, which began with peaceful protests against Assad in March 2011 but escalated into a full-blown insurgency after his troops launched a brutal crackdown.

384

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Report on child sex abuse in British Asian community highlights issues that may affect the entire nation.
Taliban makes quick gains in Afghanistan with little opposition from Afghan army as US withdrawal begins.
Analysts say China moving back toward 1950s-era public trials aimed at shaming and intimidation.
Record numbers of migrants have made harrowing sea journeys to Italy and Greece this year.
In Vietnam, 40 percent of all pregnancies are terminated each year, a rate that health officials are hoping to reduce.
join our mailing list