Suicide bomber kills 50 in Syria
An Islamist suicide car bomber killed at least 50 government security men today, an opposition group said, in what would be one of the bloodiest single attacks on Syrian president Bashar al-Assad's forces.
Syrian state media reported that a suicide bomber had targeted a rural development centre in Sahl al-Ghab in Hama province, but put the death toll at two.
"A fighter from the Nusra Front blew himself up ... At least 50 were killed," said Rami Abdelrahman, the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. "He drove his car to the centre and then blew himself up. A series of explosions followed."
Mr Abdelrahman, whose monitoring group is based in Britain, said the rural development centre was used by Syrian security forces as one of their biggest bases in the area.
The Nusra Front, an al Qaeda-inspired group of ultra-orthodox Salafi Muslims, has claimed responsibility for several suicide bombings in Damascus and elsewhere in the past. It operates mostly independently of other rebel factions, some of which have criticised it for indiscriminate tactics.
The state news agency SANA said: "A terrorist blew himself up in the centre which resulted in a number of casualties. Two citizens were killed and a number of them were wounded."
Meanwhile, the Observatory said at least 20 rebel fighters were killed in an air strike in the northwest province of Idlib.
It said in a statement that a rebel commander was also probably killed in the air strike on the town of Haram.
Much of Idlib, which borders Turkey, has fallen to the rebels as Dr Assad's ground forces have withdrawn. But like other rebel-controlled areas, it remains vulnerable to air strikes.