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Car bomb hits Syrian  regime stronghold Latakia

By AFP - Jan 22,2019 - Last updated at Jan 22,2019

This handout image, made available by state news agency SANA’s Telegram page, shows people gathering around a burning vehicle in the Syrian regime’s coastal stronghold of Latakia, on Tuesday (AFP photo)

DAMASCUS — A car bomb exploded on Tuesday in the Syrian regime’s coastal stronghold of Latakia, killing one person and wounding four others, state news agency SANA reported.

“Initial reports indicate that a car bomb exploded and that the driver was killed while four other people were wounded,” SANA said, adding that the explosion occurred in the city’s Al Hammam square.

Authorities found a second bomb in the same place and defused it just before it was due to blow up, the agency added.

It published video footage showing a burnt-out car surrounded by firefighters and soldiers.

Latakia is a bastion of the family of President Bashar Assad.

The city, the capital of Latakia province, located on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, has largely escaped the violence that has devastated other regions of Syria since the conflict began in 2011.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, Tuesday’s blast was caused by an explosive device hidden inside the car, or near it.

The observatory’s head, Rami Abdel Rahman, told AFP that the driver killed in the blast was not a suicide attacker.

In September 2015 a car bomb had exploded in the same square, killing dozens of people.

The latest explosion comes days after a blast — the first in more than a year — hit the Syrian capital Damascus which has also been largely insulated from the war.

According to SANA the bomb blast hit southern Damascus without causing any victims, but the Observatory reported it left a number of people dead and wounded.

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