Update: The death toll rises to 145. The Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the attacks, which happened in the normally quiet pro-government cities of Tartus and Jableh. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said the increase in militant attacks and bombings in Syria “once again demonstrates how fragile the situation in Syria is”. Local television reports said that at least one suicide bomber targeted a busy bus station in Tartus, followed by a car laden with explosives minutes later. In a separate attack, four explosions hit Jableh, which is south of Latakia city. They included three rocket attacks and a suicide bomber at a city hospital, state media said.
Update: Over 70 people are feared dead after seven blasts targeted several locations in the coastal towns of Jableh and Tartus, Syira’s Latakia province, according to media reports. The locations are close to two Russian military facilities: the Khmeimim airbase and the Tartus naval base.
Latakia: Several blasts have reportedly rocked Latakia province targeting several locations in the coastal towns of Jableh and Tartous, and casualties are feared. The locations are associated with two Russian military bases, Khmeimim airbase one of them., reported Reuters.
According to Ikhbariya TV, there were up to three explosions in the coastal town of Jableh near the local railway terminal. The TV channel is describing them as terrorist attacks that have left an unspecified number of dead and wounded.
RIA Novosti also reports a fourth explosion, at the emergency unit of a local hospital. Pictures circulating on social media appear to show plumes of smoke rising in Jableh, and several wrecked vehicles.
Three more blasts were reported in another coastal town, Tartous, eyewitnesses told RIA Novosti. Both towns targeted by Monday attacks are directly related to presence of Russian military task force in Syria.
The port of Tartus has been for years used by Russian Navy as feeder base. The port has been extensively used for delivering military supplies to Russian contingent in the country.
The Airport Martyr Basil al-Assad International next to Jableh is hosting Russia’s Khmeimim airbase and reconciliation center beginning September 2015. The securely guarded base is a hard target for a direct attack, so terrorists opted to blow up civilians in the town nearby.