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Mystery blast rocks Latakia

The city’s fire department said it was caused by a piece of a “large unknown object” falling from the sky while other reports blamed the blast on an errant regime missile.

Latakia explosion. (Twitter)
Latakia blast. (image via Aksalser.com)

BEIRUT – A mystery blast has rocked Latakia, with the city’s fire department saying it was caused by a piece of a “large unknown object” falling from the sky while other reports blamed the blast on an errant regime missile.

 

“Four people, including two children and a woman, were killed in an explosion that rocked Latakia,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Monday afternoon.

 

The report added that the blast was the result of regime “gunboats targeting a reconnaissance plane,” but did not go into further detail.

 

The pro-regime Latakia News Network (LNN) Facebook page originally reported Monday morning that a blast had heavily damaged a building in the coastal city’s central Mar Takla area.

 

LNN uploaded a number of pictures showing the damage to the building as well as a dramatic video of a huge plume of smoke rising over the area.

 

Smoke rises over Latakia following Monday's explosion. (YouTube)

 

The media group did not provide a coherent explanation for what caused the blast, with its initial report saying it was caused by a rocket, while subsequent news updates blamed it on the “fall of an unknown object.”

 

The Latakia Fire Brigade issued a statement saying that one piece of a “large unknown object” had hit one building without causing any injuries, while another piece smashed into another building, starting a fire and causing considerable damage.

 

Syria’s state SANA news agency has not yet issued a report on the incident, however pro-regime online outlets attributed the explosion to a crashed reconnaissance drone.

 

Meanwhile, an opposition activist told Alaraby Aljadeed that the explosion was most probably caused by a missile.

 

However, he added that its source remains unknown; telling the London-based daily that it could have been fired errantly by a regime gunboat, from an armed opposition group outside the city, or a jet.

 

ARA News, in turn, cited activists as saying that regime gunboats off Latakia’s coast had accidentally fired two missiles into the city.

 

“The first missile fell on the Mar Takla area, where it caused a large explosion… while the second hit a building in the American area in front the Ibn Sina school, but did not explode.”

 

“Syrian regime forces are barring residents from nearing the areas where the missiles hit,” an activist told the outlet.

Smoke rises over the site of Monday's blast in Latakia. (Twitter)

Syrian regime forces are barring residents from nearing the areas where the missiles hit.