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Pair of car bombs kills 25, wounds 100 in Syria

| Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 5:36 p.m.

DAMASCUS — Two car bombs exploded on Wednesday in a government-held district of the battleground city of Homs, killing at least 25 and wounding more than 100, state media said.

The blasts hit a commercial street inhabited mostly by members of President Bashar Assad's minority Alawite sect in the central city, where government forces have been imposing a heavy siege on rebel-controlled districts.

Syria's uprising, which began with largely peaceful protests against Assad's rule in March 2011, has since evolved into a civil war with sectarian overtones, pitting predominantly Sunni Muslim rebels against an Assad government that is dominated by Alawites, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

Homs, a city of about 1 million, has shown great sympathy for the opposition since the early days of the uprising.

State news agency SANA said one car blew up near a sweets shop in a busy street, and about half an hour later, another car exploded about 100 yards away “in order to inflict the biggest numbers of casualties among citizens.”

SANA said the wounded included its photographer in Homs, Syria's third-largest city, adding that the blasts went off in the Karm el-Loz neighborhood. It said the explosion that struck a busy street wounded 107 people.

It said the dead and wounded in the explosions included women and children.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the blasts killed 21 people, including children. It added that the number “is expected to rise” because some of the wounded are in critical conditions.

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