Two attacks across Syria kill over 50

The attacks came a day after President Bashar Assad declared his candidacy for the 3 June presidential elections, a race he is likely to win amid a raging civil war that initially started as an uprising against his rule. Such attacks are common in Homs and Damascus, and there was no immediate indication that Tuesday's violence was directly related Assad's announcement.

A Syrian government official said two car bombs in Homs exploded in the city's predominantly Alawite district of Zahra. Along with the 36 killed, 85 people were wounded in the attack, the official told The Associated Press by telephone from Homs. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to media.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 37 people, including five children, were killed and that more than 80 were wounded in the double car bombing Homs. Syria state TV only said the car bomb in Homs caused "a large number" of casualties.

In Damascus, several mortar shells slammed into the predominantly Shiite neighborhood of Shaghour in the morning hours, killing 14 people and wounding 86, Syria's official SANA news agency and state TV reported.

It was one of the deadliest mortar attacks in central Damascus since the conflict began in March 2011. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the Homs and Damascus attacks Tuesday. Rebels fighting to oust Assad from power have frequently fired mortars into the capital from opposition-held suburbs. Armed opposition groups have also attacked Syria's cities with car bombs in the past months.
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