More than 120 people have been killed in multiple attacks claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group in ares controlled by the Syrian government, a monitoring group said.
Syrian state TV also reported the attacks, putting the death toll at 78.
Simultaneous car bombs and suicide bombers in bus stations, hospitals and elsewhere in the coastal cities of Tartus and Jableh in Latakia province on Monday appeared to severely breach government defences, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Footage broadcast by the state-run Ikhbariya news channel of what it said were scenes of the blasts in Jableh showed several twisted and incinerated cars and minivans.
Pictures circulated by pro-Damascus social media users showed dead bodies in the back of pick-up vans and charred body parts on the ground.
The Syrian Observatory said that at least 73 people were killed in Jableh, and 48 in Tartus.
It said there were seven explosions that ripped through both locations simultaneously: Four in Jableh, including three suicide bombs and one car bomb, and four in Tartus, two suicide bombers and one car bomb.
In Jableh, dozens were killed when a car bomb went off near a bus station, followed by a suicide bomber who detonated his explosive belt inside the station. Two men blew themselves up at the electricity company and outside the emergency entrance of a city hospital.
Dozens more were killed in Tartus when a car bomb went off in the bus station, and then two men blew themselves up when people gathered, according to the observatory.
ISIL claimed responsibility for the attack through one of its media arms, Amaq.
“It is the first time in this war that simultaneous attacks of this scale took place in Latakia,” Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker, reporting from Gaziantep in neighbouring Turkey, said.
A Russian naval base is located in Latakia and Jableh is extremely close to a Russian airbase, Dekker said.
The Kremlin made a brief statement expressing concern about the attacks, adding that rising tension in the country underscored the need to continue with peace talks.[Source: Al-Jazeera]