Minibus Blast Kills 21 In Southern Syria - Activists

by
Reuters
Twenty-one people, including four children and six women, were killed when a minibus hit a mine and exploded in the southern Syrian town of Noa on Wednesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.

Policeman and air force officers gather at the site of a bomb attack on a military bus in Sanaa

Twenty-one people, including four children and six women, were killed when a minibus hit a mine and exploded in the southern Syrian town of Noa on Wednesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.

Opposition activists told the Observatory the minibus drove over a mine planted by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. There was no immediate comment from the government.

The explosion was reported in rebel-held territory in Deraa province but there are also army troops in the nearby base of Tel al-Jumaa, which is besieged.

Assad's forces are battling an uprising that grew out of protests against his family's four-decade grip on the country.

Violence has continued in recent days despite pleas from Arab and Muslim organisations for a ceasefire to mark the Muslim festival of Eid al Adha.

The British-based Observatory, which is opposed to Assad, reported clashes in most provinces on Wednesday and said war planes had been deployed to the eastern desert city of Deir al-Zor.

The group said at least 27 government soldiers had been killed during intense clashes in Deir al-Zor over the past two days although rebels gave a figure more than double that.

Pro- and anti-government militias have fragmented the country into fiefdoms, with hardline Islamist rebels fighting Kurds and other opposition groups.

The Observatory reported that 29 jihadist fighters, some from the al Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and 12 Kurdish militants were killed during clashes on Tuesday in the northeast province of Hasaka.