Blast hits Syrian port of Latakia
Damascus, June 19, 2013
A loud explosion was heard near a military site in the Syrian port city of Latakia on Wednesday, an opposition monitoring group said, but the cause of the blast was unclear.
Explosions in Latakia, part of President Bashar al-Assad's stronghold on the Mediterranean coast, have been extremely rare during Syria's two-year-old conflict.
State television said the blast was caused by a technical fault at a weapons store at a military engineering base, and said six people were hurt wounded.
The pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the blast on the base, on the southern outskirts of Latakia, was still unclear but said 13 soldiers were injured, some of whom were in critical condition.
Residents said on social media the blast shook much of the city and shattered windows.
The Syrian war has divided much of the country into territories held by Assad's forces or the rebels.
Assad has a strong hold on the coastal region and the capital. The coast is home to a large portion of the minority Alawite community, to which Assad himself belongs, and which has largely stood behind the president.
Latakia is also home to a large number of Sunni Muslims, Syria's majority population which has mostly backed the revolt.
Its location in the Alawite enclave has meant that the area is heavily guarded. Rebels have repeatedly launched operations in the Latakia countryside but the city has remained largely untouched.-Reuters
More INTERNATIONAL NEWS Stories
- Passports requiring probe were on Malaysia flight
- 40 killed in Yemen as Houthi fighters near capital
- Vietnam finds object in sea; search on
- $5bn poll spend to boost India economy
- Libya authorises use of force against Korean tanker
- Ukraine PM says he will go to US to discuss crisis
- Syrian journalist killed covering fighting
- Malaysian jet may have turned back before vanishing
- No sign of missing plane; Malaysia probes false passports
- Two Europeans not on board 'missing' Malaysian jet
- China draws red line on North Korea
- Saudi sentences three to death for 2003 bombing
- First bitcoin machine opens in UK
- US sanctions will boomerang, warns Russia
- China plans $50bn bank to fund projects
- Sony to sell Tokyo 'birthplace'
- Obama orders sanctions over Russian moves
- Crimea parliament votes to join Russia
- Arab League to be revamped
- 'Upskirting' is legal: Massachusetts court
- Singapore probes 'unnatural' death of bitcoin trader
- Onus on world powers for Syria war crimes: UN
- US, Russia set for talks on Ukraine crisis
- Brent oil drops below $109
- Services outshine manufacturing, pushing up jobs
- Bitcoin bank shut down after hacker attack
- India to kick off world's biggest poll on April 7
- China signals focus on reforms
- Hundreds ready for bitcoin exchange class action
- Space taxi, Jupiter mission in Obama budget