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Death toll rises to 22 in attack on Syria regime bastion

Mideast Syria Russia Troops

Damascus: The death toll from mortar fire today on Syria’s coastal city of Latakia rose to 22, one of the bloodiest shellings there since the country’s war began, state media reported.

The toll rose to “22 people killed and 62 wounded” in the attack on eastern neighbourhoods of the regime bastion, state television said.

Earlier, state news agency SANA had said 12 people died and 57 hurt when two mortar rounds struck residential neighbourhoods.

Latakia lies in the heartland of the minority Alawite sect to which Syria’s ruling clan belongs and has been largely spared attacks during four and a half years of civil war.

A rare car bombing in September killed 10 people and wounded dozens in Hamam Square in the provincial capital.

Rebels and jihadists, including Al-Qaeda’s Syria affiliate, have long targeted the region, in part for its symbolic value as a regime stronghold.

Meanwhile, one person was killed and five wounded in a mortar attack on residential areas of Damascus, state television said.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 10 mortar rounds struck various neighbourhoods of the capital.

The Britain-based Observatory said another four people, including a child, were killed in government rocket fire on the flashpoint town of Douma, east of Damascus.

The toll was likely to rise as some of those wounded were in critical condition, the monitoring group said.

Douma lies in the opposition bastion of Eastern Ghouta, which is regularly bombarded by regime forces.

Suspected Russian strikes on the town last week killed at least 23 civilians.

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