11 kids among 18 dead in two Syria bombings

Eleven children were among 18 people killed in two bombings in central Syria Friday, state media reported, as al-Qaida’s chief called on its Syrian affiliate to stop fighting rival jihadists.

The deadly attacks, in which suicide bombers blew themselves up in vehicles, targeted two towns in Hama province that are majority Alawite, the religious community to which President Bashar al-Assad belongs. 

The first bombing, in the town of Jibrin, in the southwest of the province, killed 17 civilians, including the 11 children, state media said.  The second attack hit the town of Al-Humairi and killed one person, state news agency SANA reported. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 15 people had been killed in the attacks. 

They come after a double car bombing claimed by al-Qaida’s Syria affiliate Al-Nusra Front killed at least 100 people on Tuesday in a majority Alawite district of the central city of Homs. 

This week also saw 33 civilians killed in the main northern city of Aleppo on Thursday when government aircraft bombed a popular market in a rebel-held district.  Despite the violence, Syria’s government plans to hold the country’s first multi-candidate presidential elections in just over a month’s time on June 3. 

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