Deadly Blasts Hit Gov’t-Held, Kurdish Parts in Syria

Deadly Blasts Hit Gov’t-Held, Kurdish Parts in SyriaDeadly Blasts Hit Gov’t-Held, Kurdish Parts in Syria

Six explosions hit government-controlled areas and a province held by a Kurdish militia in Syria on Monday morning, killing dozens of people, state media and a monitor said.

It was not immediately clear if there was a link between the blasts reported west of Damascus, in the state-held cities of Homs and Tartous, which hosts a Russian military base, and in the northeastern province of Hasaka, which is controlled by Kurdish YPG fighters.

No group claimed the attacks that took place between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. local time (0500-0600 GMT), Reuters reported. The self-styled Islamic State terrorist group, which is fighting both the government and the US-backed YPG militants, confirmed that one Hasaka blast took place but did not say whether its fighters were involved.

Two explosions hit the Arzouna Bridge area at the entrance to Tartous on Monday, killing 35 people, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The death toll was confirmed by the head of a city hospital.

Syrian state television said the first explosion was a car bomb and the second was a suicide belt detonated as rescue workers came to the scene of the first incident.

The blasts hit during Tartous’s Summer Festival. Its beaches recently featured in a government tourism video circulated on social media inviting people to visit Syria’s Mediterranean coastline. A car bomb struck the city of Homs at the Bab Tadmur roundabout at the entrance to the Al-Zahra neighborhood, killing three people, state media said.

The Observatory said the Homs explosion hit an army checkpoint, killing four officers.

West of Damascus, there was an explosion at the entrance to the town of Al-Saboura, along a road that leads onto the Beirut-Damascus Highway, killing one person and injuring three, according to a police commander quoted on state television.

The Kurdish YPG militia, a critical part of the US-backed campaign against IS, took near complete control of Hasaka city in late August after a week of fighting with the government.

The YPG already controls swathes of northern Syria where Kurdish groups have established a de facto autonomy since the start of the Syrian war in 2011.