10 Killed in Syria Car Bomb

10 Killed in Syria Car Bomb10 Killed in Syria Car Bomb

At least ten people were killed and scores wounded when a car bomb exploded in the Syrian city of Latakia on Wednesday, state television said, in a rare attack in a coastal stronghold of President Bashar al-Assad.

The explosion was in a main square, state television said. Latakia has so far been largely spared the violence that has ravaged Syria during more than four years of civil war, leading to the death of a quarter of a million people, Reuters reported.

Video footage on state and social media showed burning vehicles in an area littered also with the wreckage of scores of cars smashed by the force of the blast. Rescue workers and civilians were seen fighting the fires.

There was no claim of responsibility for the attack, which state media said was carried out by “terrorists.”

While Latakia city has been spared, the surrounding province of the same name, home to Syria’s biggest port, has been a key battleground in long conflict.

Local militant groups, including Al-Qaeda’s Syrian offshoot, the Nusra Front, control many villages in the borderlands north of the Mediterranean port city.

Also Wednesday, rocket fire struck an engineering college in the capital Damascus, killing two students and wounding 15 people, SANA reported. A day earlier, mortar rounds killed one student and wounded six at the same college.

  US’ Drone Campaign

The CIA and US special forces are carrying out a secret campaign using armed drones to target and kill Islamic State leaders in Syria, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

The clandestine program is separate from the US’ wider military operations against IS extremists, the newspaper reported, citing unnamed US officials, Middle East Eye reported.

Among those killed so far is Junaid Hussain, a hacker from Britain who the Pentagon said was recruiting IS sympathizers to carry out lone wolf attacks in the West.

Officials told the Post that the drone program has only resulted in a handful of strikes, which are being carried out by the Joint Special Operations Command. The CIA’s main role in the operation is identifying and locating senior IS leaders.

A decision to use the Central Intelligence Agency’s Counterterrorism Center and JSOC in the operation reflects rising anxiety about the spread of IS fighters, the Post reported.

Drone strikes are politically contentious in Washington and US President Barack Obama reportedly wants CIA to return to its core activity of spying, and away from paramilitary actions.

But Senator Barbara Feinstein of California, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, has said she was not convinced the military could carry out drone strikes with the same “patience and discretion” as CIA.