Over 100 people are feared dead after seven blasts targeted several locations in the coastal towns of Jableh and Tartus, Syria’s Latakia province, according to media reports. The locations are close to two Russian military facilities: the Khmeimim airbase and the Tartus naval base.
Islamic State militants claimed the attacks saying via its news outlet, Amaq, that “gatherings of Alawites in Tartous and Jableh” had been targeted. The Alawites is the minority sect to which President Bashar Assad belongs.
According to Ikhbariya TV, there were up to three explosions in the coastal town of Jableh near the local railway terminal. RIA Novosti and state TV also report a fourth explosion, at the emergency unit of a local hospital.
Syrian journalist and RT contributor Alaa Ibrahim, who is currently in Damascus, described the attack in Jableh to RT, predicting the death toll may rise throughout the day.
“The last attack was on a hospital, a female suicide attacker with a veil on her head came into the hospital in Jableh city and blew herself up, killing over 15 new persons and destroying the emergency room, the main emergency room of the city, which will make it more difficult to help those who suffered in other explosions, making the death toll likely to rise in the upcoming hours,” Alaa Ibrahim stated.
He also said it is the first time the cities of Tartus and Jableh, which support the Assad government, have been targeted and claimed it is a clear sign to the government to beware.
“These are not ordinary attacks. These are some of the largest attacks we’ve seen since the war in Syria began. […] The cities of Jableh and Tartus are considered to be the main ‘castles’ of support for the Syrian government. A large number of government supporters reside in these areas. A large number of soldiers coming from Jableh and Tartus were killed fighting for the Syrian government. This is why ISIL [Islamic State/IS, formerly ISIS] made it very clear to carry out these attacks with such ferocity,” Alaa Ibrahim pointed out.
Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad a telegram of condolence over the deaths of civilians in Monday’s attacks.
“The Russian president stressed that this tragedy was more evidence of the barbaric, inhumane nature of the terrorist groups who unleashed a bloody war against the people of Syria,” the telegram reads.
President Putin also confirmed Russia’s readiness to continue cooperation with Syria in countering terrorism, the Kremlin press service reports.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article.