Syrian state media reports blast in coastal city of Latakia


DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — A car bomb exploded at a busy intersection in the coastal city of Latakia on Tuesday, killing a civilian and wounding 14, Syrian state-run media said.

The blast was the second in government-controlled areas of Syria in two days, shattering a sense of relative calm in government-controlled areas that had somewhat stabilized after major advances by troops against insurgents in different parts of the country with Russian and Iranian help.

The TV station said Tuesday’s explosion occurred mid-afternoon in the city’s Al-Hammam Square, which is usually crowded with people. It said specialized units dismantled a second bomb before it detonated in the same location.

Footage broadcast on TV showed people gathered around the wreckage of a smoldering car.

Latakia has been a government stronghold since the Syrian conflict began in March 2011.

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The blast came two days after an explosion struck a neighborhood in the capital Damascus. State media said there were no casualties in Sunday’s explosion.

Syria’s war which started in 2011 has killed nearly half a million people and forced more than half its pre-war population from their homes.

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