DAMASCUS (AFP) -A suicide bomber driving an ambulance killed four people on Sunday in an unprecedented attack on a hospital that took Syria’s civil war to the ruling Assad clan’s hometown for the first time, a monitoring group said.
The attack came as the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that troops had executed 48 people earlier this week in a northern village, among them 10 children.
“A man drove an ambulance packed with explosives into the parking of the Qardaha hospital. Another man was in the vehicle with him, but it was unclear whether he was an accomplice or a hostage. Four people were killed in the attack,” said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman.
Earlier, state television had reported the blast but did not specify the nature of the attack.
The attack, the first explosion to hit the heart of the western town since the outbreak of Syria’s civil war in 2011, killed a nurse, a hospital employee and two soldiers, said Observatory director Abdel Rahman.
The outskirts of Qardaha have previously come under rocket fire, while Latakia province – where the town is located – has seen several rounds of heavy fighting.
A mausoleum containing the graves of President Bashar al-Assad’s father and predecessor, Hafez, and brother Bassil, is located in Qardaha.
The clan has ruled Syria with an iron fist for more than 40 years.
Meanwhile, the Observatory said 10 children and 13 rebels were among 48 people executed by government forces in the northern village of Rityan earlier this week.
Abdel Rahman said all the dead were from six families.
“There was no resistance except in one house where a rebel opened fire at troops before being executed along with his family.”
The brief seizure of Rityan was part of an abortive army offensive this week to encircle the rebel-held east of Aleppo and relieve two besieged Shiite villages to its north.