ISIS Bombs Syrian Coastal Cities: 148 Killed

Attacks Targeted Civilians in Cities With Major Russian Bases

by Jason Ditz, May 23, 2016

In some of the deadliest coordinated attacks of the entire Syrian Civil War, ISIS carried out a series of suicide attacks around the major Syrian coastal cities of Tartus and Jableh, killing at least 148 people, overwhelmingly civilians, and wounded huge numbers of others.

Four different blasts were reported in Jableh, with the first targeting the bus station and others quickly hitting a nearby hospital. ISIS insisted the bombings targeted the “gathering of Alawites.”

In Tartus the attacks also targeted a bus station, with one of the witnesses saying that the bombings were no more than 10 seconds apart. The state media reported 78 people killed overall, but other official sources confirmed that the toll was far higher, and rising.

The attacks were aimed at cities housing the largest Russian bases in Syria, with a major air base outside Jableh, and Russia’s only permanent naval base in the Mediterranean. Because of the Russian presence, these cities have extremely tight security, and have rarely been targeted in the war.

In attacking them, ISIS showed the capability of hitting pretty much anywhere in the country, though they chose in this case to attack civilians in those cities as opposed to going after the Russian forces therein.

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