At least ten people were killed and dozens wounded when a car bomb exploded in the Syrian city of Latakia on Wednesday, state television said, in a rare attack in a coastal stronghold of President Bashar al-Assad, Reuters reports.
Latakia has so far been largely spared the violence that has ravaged Syria during more than four years of civil war, killing around a quarter of a million people.
The explosion was in a main square, state television said.
The governor of Latakia, Ibrahim Khader al Salem, told pro-government television channels that insurgents sought to strike at the heart of government-held safe areas that had become a refuge for tens of thousands of displaced families in an attempt to sow “destruction and fear”.
State media said a white van filled with at least half a ton of explosives was parked near a school and had created a huge crater in the square that lies at a major crossroad inside the port city.
State media said at least two explosive-laden cars had been discovered in recent days in the city in foiled attempts to blow up heavily populated areas.
Separately, a mortar attack on part of the campus of Damascus University killed at least two students and wounded several, state media said.
Latakia is home to a large Armenian community.