2nd LD: 7 killed in blast in Syria's Homs
DAMASCUS, July 27 (Xinhua) -- At least seven people were killed and more than 20 others wounded on Sunday when a booby-trapped vehicle tore through a pro-government district in Syria's central province of Homs, the state SANA news agency reported.
The blast was carried by a booby-trapped Dacia pick up van, which ripped through the main street in the al-Arman district of Homs, the report said.
Some of the wounded are in critical conditions, the report said, adding that the blast has left huge property losses in houses, shops and cars in the neighborhood.
However, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it was not immediately clear whether the blast was a result of a booby-trapped vehicle or caused by a rocket launched on that district where is inhabited with Syrians from the Alawite minority, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, to whom Syria's ruling elite belongs.
The blast came just one day after the Syrian army forces succeeded in taking back control over a key natural gas field in the eastern countryside of Homs following days of intense battles with the so-called Islamic State radical group at the field's site in al-Shaer region.
Homs, Syria's third largest city, was one of the first areas to sympathize with an anti-government movement in Syria. The rebels there took considerable swathes of lands, but government troops have stripped them of the territory over the past year.
Recently, the rebels have evacuated the old quarters of Homs under a deal concluded with the Syrian government troops, leaving the old city in ruins due to the intensity of over two-year clashes.
Syria has been gripped by deadly conflict since March 2011. Over 160,000 people have reportedly been killed and millions displaced due to the violence.