At least 34 people have been killed and more than 50 people injured in a car-bomb attack on Friday in a village controlled by government forces, media reports said, citing state-run news agency SANA and an opposition activist group.
The explosion took place in Horrah village in the countryside near Hama, located in west-central Syria, SANA reported, blaming the attack on militants fighting to overthrow President Bashar Assad. Other information about the attack and its target was not revealed. According to France 24, an online news portal, the Islamic Front, a coalition of Syrian Islamist groups battling government forces, claimed responsibility for the blast, saying that the radio-controlled bomb targeted "a gathering of Assad militia."
Clashes between government forces and Islamist militants in the province took place overnight, Reuters reported, citing the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, or SOHR. The car bombing was reportedly described as a “terrorist” attack by SANA.
The Britain-based SOHR, which was founded in 2006 and reportedly is an anti-Assad monitoring group, reportedly said that about 37 people were killed in the car bombing and more than 40 injured.
According to Reuters, it was not immediately clear if the attack was in any way linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, which has taken over parts of northern Iraq, and is fighting for control of the country's largest oil refinery in Baija. Syria shares its eastern border with Iraq.
Car bombs have been a common form of attack in Syria's three-year-old conflict, which has now turned into a civil war that has claimed the lives of over 160,000 people, media reports said, citing opposition activists.