Wave of bombings against government-allied parts of Syria kills 40

Syrian army personnel standing guard at the site of a car bomb attack, in the Bab Tadmur neighbourhood of Homs, on Sept 5, 2016.
Syrian army personnel standing guard at the site of a car bomb attack, in the Bab Tadmur neighbourhood of Homs, on Sept 5, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS/SANA

BEIRUT (THE WASHINGTON POST) - A string of explosions around Syria, most of them targeting government checkpoints, killed at least 40 people on Monday (Sept 5) as talks failed between the United States and Russia for a ceasefire in the war.

The majority of the casualties died in a double attack on the loyalist province of Tartous, according to the official government news agency SANA. A car bomb blew up on a bridge, and then a suicide bomber wearing an explosive belt detonated himself when people gathered to take the wounded to hospital, killing a total of 30 people, the agency said.

Elsewhere, four people died in an explosion at a checkpoint in the city of Homs, and one person died in a bombing in the countryside surrounding Damascus. Five more died in an attack carried out by an explosives packed motorcycle in the north-eastern city of Hasaka.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the Hasaka blast and an additional bombing in the north-eastern city of Qamishli that targeted Syrian Kurds and was not reported by the Syrian government.

There was no claim of responsibility for the other explosions, which also wounded over 50 people.

Bombings are commonplace in Syria and airstrikes kill an equivalent number on a daily basis. But attacks like the one in the loyalist stronghold of Tartous, a coastal province mostly populated by the Alawite sect to which President Bashar Assad belongs, are relatively rare. The province is home to Russia’s main naval base in the country.

These attacks came as a reminder that there is no end in sight to the cycle of violence, especially in the wake of the failed US-Russia ceasefire talks .

US officials had hoped to reach a deal in time for President Barack Obama’s meeting on Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in China. The meeting went ahead with no agreement in sight, although the two sides said they would continue to talk.

The agreement was to have focused on the city of Aleppo and ways to deliver humanitarian aid to needy civilians. The effort was complicated on Sunday,however, by fresh gains by government forces that entirely cut off the rebel-controlled portion of the city, leaving an estimated 300,000 civilians without access to the outside world.