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Deadly blasts rock Syria amid military showdown
At least 32 people were killed and over 115 others injured when twin blasts rocked Syria's central province of Homs on Wednesday, the latest in an endless violence that has been rocking Syria for over three years, according to the state news agency SANA.
The twin bombings targeted two elementary schools in the pro- government neighborhood of Ekrima in Homs, said the report, adding that the majority of the casualties were school students.
The state news agency said the "terrorists" detonated the first car, which was packed with C4 explosives, near the New Ekrima School. Minutes later, the report added, a suicide bomber blew himself up at another school in the same neighborhood.
The oppositional Syrian Observatory for Human Rights placed the death toll of the deadly explosion at 45, 41 of whom were children.
Ekrima is inhabited by Syrians of the Alawite minority, an offshoot of Shiite Islam to whom the ruling elite in Syria belong.
The Syrian national TV aired live coverage of the blast site, showing piles of debris and burnt concrete which seemed mingled with dark red blood of the killed school children whose books were seen scattered on pools of blood in Ekrima.
The deadly explosions stirred a wave of condemnation in Syria.
"These terrorist acts, in which terrorists have taken their hatred out on our schoolchildren, are meant to discourage Syria's children from pursuing knowledge," Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi was cited by SANA as saying.
Al-Halqi said these terrorist acts "will make us even stronger and more determined to restore security and stability all over Syria."
In the same context, the ruling al-Baath party strongly condemned the twin explosions, saying in a statement that the " twin explosions reveal again the brutality of terrorists and their hatred against the Syrian citizens who achieved a lot of victories over terrorism."
Meanwhile, the governor of the Homs province Talal al-Barazi said targeting safe children in their schools is an act of " cowardice and a desperate attempt to undermine the steadfastness of Syria and reverse the state of security and stability in Homs province."
Also, Director of Homs Health Directorate Hassan al-Jundi said the health sector is on high alert to take all necessary measures under these extraordinary circumstances in the province.
The explosions came at a time when the Syrian troops recaptured strongholds of the rebels in the central province of Hama and the countryside of the coastal city of Latakia, as part of the government troops' wide-scale offensive against the rebels in Syria.
The state news agency said the Syrian troops on Wednesday advanced into the rebel-held Jobar suburb in the eastern countryside of the capital Damascus.
The Syrian forces also carried out attacks against the rebels in the southern province of Daraa and Qunaitera, leaving many of the radical militant groups killed or wounded.
Meanwhile, the Observatory said five people were killed when a blast rocked the town of Ehsim in the northwestern province of Idlib, in what appeared to be an episode of the rebel-on-rebel infighting. The Observatory stopped short of giving more details about the Idlib blast.
In the surrounding of the Kurdish city of Kobani in northern Syria, intense clashes continued on Wednesday between the Kurdish militants and the Islamic State (IS) terror group, whose fighters have been on a crushing offensive for the recapture of that key city on the borders with Turkey.
The U.S.-led anti-terror coalition, which has been striking some of the IS positions since last week, struck the IS near Kobani. However, the strikes have done little to stop the advancement of the IS toward the city amid reports that the terror group fighters are two kilometers from the city, pushing their way through with heavy artilleries and tanks shelling.
Tens of thousands of Kurds fled the surroundings of Kobani toward the Turkish borders over the past week amid reports that Kurdish fighters raced to join their fellow Kurds to defend Kobani, pouring into Syria from Turkey.
[Source: Xinhua, Damascus, 01Oct14]
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