More than 100 people are feared dead after seven blasts targeted several locations in the Latakia province in Syria on Monday, according to media reports.
ISIS have claimed responsibility for the attacks in Jableh and Tartus which which are close to two Russian military facilities.
Islamic State militants claimed the attacks saying via its news outlet, Amaq, that “gatherings of Alawites in Tartous and Jableh” had been targeted. The Alawites is the minority sect to which President Bashar Assad belongs.
According to Ikhbariya TV, there were up to three explosions in the coastal town of Jableh near the local railway terminal. RIA Novosti and state TV also report a fourth explosion, at the emergency unit of a local hospital.
The blasts left over 45 people dead, police sources initially told RIA. Then the joint death toll was raised to over 100.
— Ahmad nasser el dine (@ahmadalinasser1) May 23, 2016
Sham FM radio claims that the first explosion in Jableh occurred at the entrance to the town, where a car with an estimated equivalent of 250 kg of TNT inside blew up.
Another three explosions were reportedly carried out by suicide bombers, and at least one of them was believed to be a woman.
— Aldin Abazović (@Ald_Aba) May 23, 2016
Three more blasts were reported in a residential area of another coastal town, Tartus, eyewitnesses told RIA Novosti.
At least 20 were killed there, SANA and RIA Novosti said citing police sources.
According to Syrian state TV, one of the Tartus explosions was a car bomb, while another was caused by a suicide bomber.
Both towns targeted by Monday attacks are close to facilities used by the Russian task force in Syria.
The port of Tartus has been used for years by the Russian Navy as a feeder base. The port has been extensively used for delivering military supplies to the Russian contingent in the country.
The Martyr Basil al-Assad International Airport, next to Jableh, has hosted Russia’s Khmeimim airbase and reconciliation center since September 2015.