Two blasts kill at least 23 people in Syria’s Latakia

More than 23 people reported dead, at least 40 wounded in two explosions in Syria’s coastal city of Latakia

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

In an image released by SANA, smoke is seen rising from buildings following mortar shelling on the Syrian coastal city of Latakia on November 10, 2015

At least 23 people killed and more than 40 wounded in a mortar fire on Tuesday targeting Syria’s coastal city of Latakia, according to reports made by state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA).

Two explosions took place, one of which targeted Sbiro station located at the highway of Tishreen university, while the other one took place in the al-Awqaf area in the city of Latakia.

One of the blasts was due to rocket fire while the other was either from a rocket or a planted explosive device, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported.

Opposition fighting factions, including Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate Jabhat al Nusra, have long targeted the region, in part for its symbolic value as a regime stronghold.

Abeer Selman, a 24-year old literature student at Tishreen university, stated that she was waiting for the bus when the mortars struck.

"I saw blood everywhere and people running in every direction," Sleman told AFP.

"I passed by a corpse that had nothing left except for its legs... We wait at this bus stop every day," she added.

In an image released by AFP, smoke is seen rising from buildings following mortar shelling on the Syrian coastal city of Latakia on November 10, 2015.

The UK-based observatory stated that with many of the wounded in serious condition, the death toll is expected to rise.

Bashar al Assad’s regime condemned what it called "terrorist" assaults on the city, state television reported in a newsflash, providing no further details.

The Assad regime refers to all opposition fighting factions as “terrorists.”

Opposition fighting factions have a strong presence in the province's northern countryside, but the city of Latakia remains firmly under the control of Assad forces.

In addition, Latakia province is home to Khmeimim airbase which Russia is currently using to conduct airstrikes in support of Assad against opposition, mostly in the west and northwest of the country, which has further made the province a target for opposition attacks.

The city is known to be a stronghold of the Alawite religious group, to which Assad belongs, however, around 50 percent of Latakia city is still Sunni, according to a report by the International Strategic Research Organisation.

TRTWorld and agencies