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Al-Qaeda in Syria claims car bombings in Homs - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A picture taken with a smartphone on May 25, 2014, shows emergency teams extinguishing a fire at the site of a car bomb attack in a regime-held area in Syria's central city of Homs. (AFP PHOTO/SAM SKAINE)

A picture taken with a smartphone on May 25, 2014, shows emergency teams extinguishing a fire at the site of a car bomb attack in a regime-held area in Syria’s central city of Homs. (AFP PHOTO/SAM SKAINE)

Beirut, AP—Al-Qaeda’s main affiliate in Syria claimed responsibility on Monday for two deadly car bombings in a pro-government neighborhood of the central city of Homs.

The Sunday attacks, in which at least 10 people died, undermined the semblance of peace that had returned to the shattered Syrian city since a ceasefire deal in May between rebels and Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s forces.

The claim of responsibility was posted on the Al-Nusra Front’s Twitter feed.

“God has given a gift to his warrior servants of the Al-Nusra Front in Homs,” said the statement. “The two (cars) were detonated at the same time to kill the greatest number of thugs,” it added, referring to pro-government gunmen.

Sunday’s explosions struck the city’s Zahra district, which is predominantly inhabited by Alawites and Christians, who have mostly supported Assad in the conflict or remained neutral.

Now in its fourth year, Syria’s conflict has killed at least 160,000 people, according to activists.

The bombings in Zahra suggest that even as rebels steadily lose ground across Syria to pro-government forces, groups such as the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front can still turn to large-scale bombings and attacks to pressure Assad.

The latest attacks could also threaten an agreement that is being negotiated between the government side and the rebels in the Al-Waar neighborhood, across the Orontes River from Homs.

“The explosions . . . may affect this agreement negatively,” said Thaer Khalidiya, an activist from Homs.

Another Homs-based activist, Beibars Tilawi, said the rebels from Al-Waar seem willing to leave the area, fearing for the fate of its tens of thousands of residents if the government blockade continues.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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