The Islamic State terrorist organization claimed responsibility for a series of seven coordinated bombings that struck two cities in Syria on Monday, leaving at least 120 people dead and many others wounded.
Suicide bombers and car bombs targeted hospitals, bus stations, and an electricity company throughout the port cities of Tartus and Jableh in quick successions. Al-Jazeera reports this is the first time ISIL has breached government defenses with simultaneous attacks of this magnitude in the provinces of Tartous and Latakia, which is also the location for a Russian naval facility and Russian-operated air base.
According to Amaq, ISIL’s news agency, 10 members of the terrorist group died in the attacks. Islamic State has claimed the attacks on the government-held Syrian cities were in retaliation for the strikes by the Syrian regime and Russia. ISIL wants them to,
“experience the same taste of death which Muslims so far have tasted from Russian (and Syrian government) air strikes on Muslim towns.”
Three suicide bombs and one car bomb devastated areas of Jableh while two suicide bombers and one car bomb destroyed parts of Tartus. In Jableh, an ISIL militant walked into a hospital and blew himself (conflicting reports state this militant was female) up in the emergency area of the hospital, killing at least 40 patients and family, two nurses, and one doctor.
Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi stated the group decided to bomb civilians instead of engaging in the fight on the front lines. The bombings have not discouraged the residents or government,
“We will not be deterred. We will use everything we have to fight the terrorists.” – Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi
The Syrian government labels anyone who opposes it a “terrorist.” The rebel groups do not consider themselves to be terrorists.
Syrian and Russian government forces have lately increased their bombardment in multiple cities in Syria over the past few months, including most recently the Syrian-Russian airstrikes launched in the Homs province. These airstrikes continued through the weekend, allegedly targeting the al-Nusra Front and Islamic State. However, there were reports of residential areas being completely destroyed.
The Aleppo province has also come under heavy airstrikes over the past couple of months, with the government often striking against rebel-held regions, which has been an ongoing complaint by the High Negotiations Committee (HNC). The group claims the Syrian regime has violated the cessation of hostilities agreement multiple times.
A senior official in the rebel group, Zakaria Malahefji told Reuters the government forces have bombed the only road into rebel-held areas in the city of Aleppo making it too risky and dangerous to continue using.
Officials all around the world have condemned the bombings, emphasizing that a cessation of violence by all sides is necessary in order to move forward. The continued violence delays any possible progression.
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