HOMS, Syria, Dec. 28 (UPI) — At least 19 people were killed in Homs, Syria, when a car packed with 440 pounds of explosives detonated and a man hiding in the crowd that gathered at the scene blew himself up.
The car was parked on a busy road in the city’s al-Zahra neighborhood, an enclave of the Shiite Alawite sect supportive of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and thus a regular target of anti-government rebels. A suicide bomber on foot, part of the crowd that gathered at the scene, then detonated his own bomb, Homs governor Talal Barazi said.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights placed the death toll at 32, and said an additional 90 people were injured.
The attack came as the Syrian government accelerated attempts to negotiate truces in rebel-held areas of Syria. Homs remains under government control, and earlier in December a ceasefire was arranged as the government occupied the last rebel-held areas of the city of 700,000. The attack Monday was the second in Homs since the ceasefire.
The cowardly and desperate terrorist bombings are a response to the growing spirit of national reconciliation in many Syrian areas in tandem with the grand victories of our heroic army,” Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halaqi said in a statement.