Meridian Star

September 27, 2013

Car bomb kills at least 30 north of Syrian capital


Associated Press

BEIRUT —

BEIRUT (AP) — A car bomb exploded near a mosque north of the Syrian capital as worshippers emerged from Friday prayers, killing at least 30 people, activists said.

The blast, which struck outside the al-Sahel mosque in the town of Rankous, also wounded dozens of people, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

No further details were immediately available, and it was not clear whether the mosque itself was the target of the attack.

Mohammed Saeed, an activist in the eastern Damascus suburb of Douma, and the Observatory's director Rami Abdul-Rahman both said the town is neither rebel-held nor regime-held. Abdul-Rahman said the local residents have an agreement with the rebels not to bring their weapons into Rankous in order to avoid government shelling.

Saeed, who is in contact with activists in Rankous, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Damascus, said residents quickly held funerals for some of those killed in the bombing, in line with Islamic tradition that calls for a prompt burial. As people marched in one funeral procession, several rockets fired by government troops fell nearby and wounded some of the mourners.