On Monday, Islamic State bombed two cities in Syria killing at least a hundred people. Seven bombs – most of them suicide attacks – hit Jableh and Tartus almost simultaneously. Fifty-three people were killed in the city of Jableh and another 48 died in Tartus. Both these cities are said to Syrian regime strongholds.
Abdel Rahman, the chief of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group called the bombings, “without a doubt the deadliest attacks”, since Syria’s conflict began in March 2011.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attacks via its Amaq news agency, saying IS fighters had attacked “Alawite gatherings” in Tartus and Jableh.
State television in Syria broadcast footage of a bus station that was hit by one blast in Tartus. Charred minibuses lay on their sides while others were still ablaze.
State media also reported that a car bomb and two suicide bombers attacked a petrol station in Tartous.
In Jableh, one of the four blasts hit near a hospital, state media and the Observatory reported.
Both cities are strongholds of the regime of President Bashar al-Assad whose family hails from the village of Qardaha, just 25 kilometres east of Jableh.
They have been relatively insulated from the war raging in Syria, which has killed at least 270,000 people since March 2011.
(With inputs from agencies)