Sixteen people were killed Saturday in a car bomb attack in a proregime neighborhood in Homs, in central Syria, claimed by jihadist Islamic State Group (EI).
The governor of the province of Homs Talal Barazi told AFP that 16 people died and 54 were injured in a “car bomb” in the neighborhood of Zahra.
“At least 16 people were killed in the blast and dozens injured, some of them in serious condition,” said the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (OSDH).
Zahra is a district east of Homs frequented by Alawites (a branch of Shiism). This community belongs to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was a quarter of the population of the third city of Syria before the uprising against the regime in 2011.
The Syrian government was quick to condemn what he called a “cowardly terrorist explosion”.
In a statement posted on an Islamist website, IE claimed responsibility for the car bomb, saying it had been followed by a suicide bomber.
“Abu Ahmad al-Homsi parked his car in the neighborhood of Zahra, blew it […] and then detonated his explosive belt.”
According to the governor of Homs, “a truck bomb with 150-200 kg of explosives exploded near the al-Ahli hospital” to Zahra.
He said the number of casualties and damage were important “because of the proximity of a restaurant where there were gas canisters.”
“The explosion was terrifying and created a huge crater. Body parts lying on the floor and people were running in every direction, “testified a resident of Homs 28, who was near the site of the attack.
According to the director of OSDH and activists on site, this attack took place while the UN supply trucks were about to enter the district of Waer in the northwest of Homs.
Earlier this week, hundreds of rebels had left Waer, last quarter they controlled in Homs, under a rare cease-fire monitored by the UN, paving the way for a full resumption this great city by the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
Much of the province of Homs, however, remains under the control of insurgents, including Al-Nosra Front (Syrian branch of Al Qaeda) in the north and the Islamic State Group (EI) in the east, whose famous ancient city of Palmyra.
In the north, at least 10 people were killed, including a child, by “probably Russian” raids on a town held by rebels in Aleppo province according to the OSDH, based in the UK but has a wide network of sources in Syria.
Russia is engaged militarily in Syria since the end of September to support the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
Since 2011, the conflict in Syria has killed more than 250,000 people dead and forced the exodus of millions of people.