More than 148 people were killed in bombings claimed by the Islamic State group in northwestern Syria, the deadliest attacks to date in the regime’s coastal heartland yesterday.
Seven near-simultaneous explosions targeted bus stations, hospitals and other civilian sites in the seaside cities of Jableh and Tartus, which until now had been relatively insulated from Syria’s five-year war.
The attacks on strongholds of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime came as IS faces mounting pressure in Syria and neighbouring Iraq, where a major offensive to retake the jihadist-held city of Fallujah is underway.
One hundred people were killed in Jableh and another 48 in Tartus to the south, including children.
Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said they were “without a doubt the deadliest attacks” on the two cities since the start of the war. IS claimed the blasts in a statement, saying they were in retaliation for Syrian regime and Russian air strikes against the jihadists and vowed to carry out “more devastating and bitter attacks”.