Islamist rebels target hospital in Assad’s hometown


February 22, 2015

HITTING CLOSE TO HOME: At least four people were killed Saturday afternoon in a suicide car bomb attack that struck a local hospital in a regime bastion in the Latakia countryside.

Al-Qardaha is the hometown of the al-Assad family and the site of former President Hafez al-Assad’s grave. The attack was the first car bombing to take place in Al-Qardaha during the Syrian uprising, according to both Syrian state television and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The attack was carried out by a local jihadist from the village of Talmash in Idlib province, Omar Ibrahim, official spokesperson for The Collective for the Victory of the Oppressed, told Syria Direct.

The Collective, an independent Islamist brigade operating in Idlib and the Latakia countryside, took responsibility for the blast in a statement released on its official Facebook page on Saturday which read, “With the help of God, the first suicide bomber was able to penetrate the city of Al-Qardaha, home of the Assad family, on 2-21-2015.”

The suicide bomber Abu Khaled was a former member of Jabhat al-Nusra, but defected to the Collective, according to Ibrahim.

The statement claimed that the attack was in response to the massacres committed by regime troops in Douma and Latakia. The group promised to carry out similar attacks, adding that it would soon release a taped recording of the attack publicly.

The car detonated at the Basil Al-Assad hospital, and was reported to be carrying three passengers according to the pro-regime Homs Central Region News Outlet.

The four dead included two soldiers, a nurse and an administrative employee, according to the Latakia branch of the Syrian National Guard’s media office.

“We weren’t targeting civilians but rather military figures who were located inside the hospital,” Ibrahim claimed. “No civilians died as a result of the attack.”

-February 22, 2015

-Photo courtesy of Amar Ibrahim

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