DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — A powerful car bombing on Friday in a government-held village in central Syria killed at least 34 civilians and wounded more than 50 others, Syria’s state-run news agency and an opposition activist group said.
SANA said the explosion went off in Horrah village in the countryside near the central city of Hama. It did not immediately provide further information on the attack or say what the target was.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which documents the violence in Syria through an extensive network of activists on the ground, said at least 37 people were killed and more than 40 others wounded in the bombing. In a statement, it said the toll was likely to rise because many of the wounded were in critical condition.
Car bombs are common in Syria’s civil war, now in its fourth year. The conflict has killed more than 160,000 people according to opposition activists. Nearly a third of the victims were civilians.
On Thursday evening, a car bomb exploded near a school in the pro-government Nazha district of the central city of Homs, killing three people and wounding nine, Syrian state media said.
The Syrian conflict started in March 2011 with Arab Spring inspired protests against President Bashar Assad’s rule and evolved into a civil war with sectarian overtones and Islamic extremists.
Foreign fighters and Syrian rebels who have taken up hard-line al-Qaida-style ideologies have played an increasingly powerful role among fighters, dampening the West’s support for the rebellion to overthrow Assad.
The militants frequently carry out bombings in government-controlled areas, including suicide operations, some of which have targeted military installations.