Dozens of civilians have been reportedly injured in the central Syrian city of Homs, following the explosion of two bombs.
Syrian state television said dozens of civilians were wounded when two bombs exploded on Sunday in the central Syrian city of Homs, which lies on a crucial supply route between the capital Damascus and the Mediterranean coast.
Officials said at least 27 people were wounded when a car bomb was detonated in a busy commercial street in the central Karm al Loz neighbourhood. Footage of mangled cars and destroyed shops and homes were broadcast on state media.
Another bomb later exploded on the southern edge of the city, wounding ten civilians, according to the state news agency SANA. No one claimed responsibility for the twin bombings.
Residents said the two districts targeted were inhabited mainly by Assad’s Alawite minority sect in the city of around one million inhabitants.
The city of Homs lies near the intersection of Syria’s main north-south and east-west arteries, and is on a crucial supply route between the capital Damascus and the Mediterranean coast.
The city was a centre of the insurrection against Assad’s rule and was an major opposition stronghold until it was retaken by the army in May 2014. Only one neighbourhood remains under opposition control.
Homs lies 150 km (90 miles) to the west of Palmyra, also known as Tadmur, which ultra hardline Islamic State militants seized last month.
The Syrian army and militia fighting alongside it have lost swathes of territory to insurgent groups, including the northwestern province of Idlib which fell to an alliance of Islamist militants, including Syria’s al-Qaeda offshoot, the Nusra Front. They have also lost ground to rebels in southern Syria.
After the loss of Palmyra, a symbolic and militarily strategic city in Homs province, and nearly all of Idlib province, Assad appears to be focussing on maintaining control of a western region that includes the capital Damascus, Homs, and the coast, his ancestral home.