Syria conflict: IS claims wave of bombings that kill dozens

Two explosions hit the Arzoneh motorway bridge at the entrance to Tartous. PHOTO: AFP

At least 40 people have been killed in bombings in mainly government-held areas of Syria, state media report.

Four attacks took place within an hour in Tartous, Homs and in a suburb of Damascus, with one in Hassakeh, which is dominated by Kurdish forces.

The deadliest incident was outside Tartous, home to a Russian naval base and in the heartland of President Bashar al-Assad’s Alawite sect.

The Islamic State (IS) group said it was behind the attacks.

BBC revealed that the group made the claim in a statement carried by its affiliated news agency, Amaq.

The attacks took place between 08:00 and 09:00 (05:00-06:00 GMT) on Monday.

Syria’s official Sana news agency reported that 30 civilians had been killed and 45 others injured in the Tartous countryside.

First, a car bomb was detonated on the Arzoneh motorway bridge, a local police source told Sana.

Then, as a crowd gathered at the scene to help the wounded, a suicide bomber detonated his explosive belt, the source added.

Tartous had been relatively unscathed by Syria’s five-year civil war until May, when a suicide bomb attack on a bus station by IS militants left dozens dead.

In the central city of Homs, four people were killed and 10 injured when a car bomb exploded at the entrance to the Bab Tadmour district, Sana reported.

The governor of Homs province said the car bomb targeted a military checkpoint and that the casualties were soldiers.

One person was killed in a bombing on a road in Saboura, a heavily-guarded western suburb of Damascus, a police source told Sana.

Opposition activist Yousef al-Boustani said the area was home to security officers and their families and that the attack represented a major security breach.

In Hassakeh, an explosives-packed motorcycle was blown up at the Marsho roundabout, killing five civilians and injuring two others, Sana said.