At least 10 people have been killed and 25 others injured in a car bomb that went off in a square in Syria’s coastal city of Latakia, according to state media and a monitoring group.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 10 people were killed and dozens injured on Wednesday in a rare car bombing in the government stronghold.
“Terrorists detonated a white van loaded with large amounts of explosives that was parked in front of Imad Ali School at al-Hamam Square in Lattakia, claiming the lives of 10 civilians, injuring 25 others, and causing material damage to homes, cars, and private properties,” Syrian state news agency, SANA, reported.
“On Tuesday evening, the authorities managed to dismantle two car bombs that terrorists were trying to sneak into Latakia city and arrested members of the terrorist group responsible for rigging the two cars with explosives.”
State television aired footage of charred cars with their windows blown out, and firefighters attempting to put out blazes in the city.
Latakia, the heartland of the minority Alawite sect to which the ruling Assad family belongs, has been largely spared the violence that has wracked Syria since an uprising against regime rule erupted in March 2011.
Assad ancestral village
Wednesday’s car bomb was the biggest of its kind in Latakia since the war broke out, said the observatory.
“This is rare for Latakia city, which is usually hit by rockets,” Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the observatory told the AFP news agency.
Rebel fighters entrenched in the hilly terrain around Latakia regularly fire rockets and other missiles into the city.
Many Syrians displaced by violence in neighbouring regions have taken refuge in Latakia province and some businesses have moved to the relative safety of the area.
The province is home to Assad’s ancestral village and support for his government remains strong there, although the war has also taken a toll among conscripts and volunteers from the area.
Elsewhere on Wednesday, at least two students were killed and at least 15 people wounded when rockets hit an engineering college in Damascus, the observatory said.
State television reported another three people were killed and 45 wounded in opposition shelling on Jaramana, an area southeast of the capital.