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Explosions strike Syria's Damascus and Homs, 4 killed

By BASSEM MROUE
May 23, 2017 10:32 AM

BEIRUT (AP) — An explosion claimed by the Islamic State group in the central Syrian city of Homs on Tuesday killed at least four people and wounded more than two dozen, Syria's state media and the militant group reported.

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Meanwhile, government forces foiled another attack, also claimed by IS, near the Damascus airport when they destroyed a truck bomb, Syria TV reported.

Homs police commander Lt. Gen. Khaled Hilal told state TV that two suicide attackers detonated their explosives-laden car as they were being surrounded by troops. Along with the four killed, Syrian state TV said 30 people were wounded in the explosion.

The blast in Homs came two days after the government took control of the entire city of Homs, for the first time since the conflict began in 2011, following the evacuation of rebels from their last hold-out, the besieged al-Waer neighborhood.

More than six years after the conflict began, most major Syrian cities have at this point reverted to government control. Syria's civil war has left about 400,000 people dead and millions displaced from their homes.

Hilal said the Homs attack was a "new crime in response to the victories of the Syrian Arab army." State TV aired footage from the area showing charred cars and a street full of debris as paramedics in red uniforms searched for casualties.

The city, once known as the capital of the revolution, has been devastated by the war. The mixed city of Muslims and Christians has often come under attack from the Islamic State group, which frequently targets religious minorities to fuel the sectarian nature of the conflict.

The TV channel also reported that Syrian forces hit a pickup truck rigged with explosives on the road leading to the Damascus International Airport, killing two militants. The area is close to a prominent Shiite shrine.

Aamaq, the IS-linked news agency, said members of the group carried out both of the attacks, naming the neighborhoods in both Homs and Damascus.

Also near Damascus, the International Committee of the Red Cross said a convoy of 42 trucks carrying food and medical supplies had entered the eastern, opposition-held suburb of Jairoud. The ICRC said the supplies are for 36,000 people and that the delivery was carried out in coordination with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the United Nations.

Tens of thousands of people in Syria still live in areas besieged by rival groups.

Credits

By BASSEM MROUE

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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