At least 40 people were killed and dozens wounded in five explosions on Monday morning in mostly government-held areas in Syria.
State media reports that the blasts hit the coastal city of Tartous, the central city of Homs, the suburbs of the capital Damascus as well as the northeastern city of Hasaka, which is mostly controlled by Kurdish forces but where the government maintains a presence.
Two of the explosions struck the highway outside the entrance to the Syrian port-city of Tartus, in western Syria, which houses a Russian naval base.
“We received information about a double explosion at the entrance to the city of Tartus, on the government highway under Arazona bridge,” RIA Novosti reports, citing local militia.
Sana news agency reported that some 30 people have been killed in the blasts and some 45 injured.
The first explosion was a car bomb. The second took place when a suicide bomber detonated an explosive belt as people gathered to help the injured from the first incident, a source at Tartous Police Command told the news agency.
al-Arzunah Bridge, Tartous pic.twitter.com/mdoEt8jPYf
— Hassan Ridha (@sayed_ridha) September 5, 2016
Tartus is the second-largest port city in Syria. It has been used, first by the Soviet and now the Russian Navy, for years as a feeder base. The facilities have been used during Moscow’s Syria campaign, too – they enable provision of military supplies to the Russian contingent fighting Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).
After Russia withdrew most of its troops from Syria in mid-March this year, it was decided to maintain Russia’s military presence at the Tartus base, as well as at the Khmeimim Airbase, in order to observe the ceasefire arrangements in the Arab country.
Earlier, there have also been reports of explosions at a checkpoint on the outskirts of the capital, Damascus, in the northeastern city of Hasakah and in the western city of Homs.
— Haidar Sumeri (@IraqiSecurity) September 5, 2016
Five civilians were killed and two others injured after a motorbike exploded at Mersho turning in Hasakah city on Monday morning.
One person was also killed and three others injured after a blast that took place on the road of al-Sabboura, according to a Sana source in the Damascus Countryside Police Command.
A car bomb struck a military checkpoint at the entrance of Bab Tadmur neighborhood in Homs, killing four soldiers and injuring 10 others, Sana reports, citing the Homs Health Directorate.
Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) has claimed responsibility for the attack in Hasakah, Amaq news agency reported, but no other assault.