Blast in Syria kills 10

Damascus, Sep 2 (IANS) At least 10 people were killed and 40 others wounded in a blast that rocked Syria’s northwestern coastal city of Latakia on Wednesday, the state-run TV reported.

The blast was triggered by a booby-trapped vehicle and tore through al-Hamam square in the city of Latakia, Xinhua reported.

TV footages showed a square covered with debris and soot with several cars on fire, while people were rushing to help the wounded. Several buildings around the square also appeared to have taken a strong beating by the blast, as some facades were destroyed and pancaked.

Earlier on Tuesday, the state-run media outlets said authorities discovered two explosive-laden vehicles that were set to be detonated in Latakia, the hometown of President Bashar al-Assad and heartland of his Alawite minority, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

Intense battles were being fought in the northern countryside of Latakia between Syrian army and an array of jihadi groups. The Syrian air force has stricken the rebel positions in northern Latakia, killing tens of them almost daily.

Rebels near Latakia aim to threaten the city due to its strategic importance to the regime.

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