Schoolgirls die in dormitory fire
A series of explosions, including suicide bombings, rocked coastal government strongholds in Syria yesterday, killing more than 80 people and wounding 200 others, state media and opposition activists said. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks.
The deadly blasts in the normally quiet progovernment cities of Tartus and Jableh were the first of their kind targeting civilians in those areas in the course of Syria’s civil war, now in its sixth year. The targets included bus stations and a hospital, and marked an escalation in the conflict as world powers struggle to restart peace talks in Geneva. Several rounds of talks were held in the Swiss city earlier this year, although there was no breakthrough and the talks never really took off.
TV reports said at least one suicide bomber followed by a car laden with explosives tore A Spanish priest says he has given up hope that local authorities in his parish of Xestoso in the northwest of the country will fix the potholes in the roads - so he has asked for divine intervention. Luis Roldan Patino celebrated Mass on a pitted road on Sunday and splashed holy water to bless it. Each pothole is now marked with a wooden through a packed bus station in Tartus, minutes apart. More than 33 were killed and many injured in the bombings.
Separately, Syria’s SANA news agency reported that four explosions rocked Jableh, south of Latakia city. The attacks included three rockets, and a suicide bomber at the emergency entrance of the Jableh national hospital, the state media said.
The coordinated and near-simultaneous attacks marked a major security breach of government strongholds that have remained calm throughout the war. Tartus and Jableh are home to thousands of internally displaced people from violence-stricken areas across Syria.
The bombings unleashed an immediate backlash against the refugees, with families of the victims attacking IDP shelters. One shelter, Al Karnak, was burned down. cross on the roadside so drivers can slow down before hitting them, he added. Roldan Patino told journalists that “just like we can pray to the Lord for rain” he is pleading for divine intervention to fix the road because “it’s going to be the only way to do that”. He said the authorities are “blind to the situation and we feel totally abandoned”. A night-time fire at a dormitory of a primary school in northern Thailand killed 18 girls, many of whom had been roused by a friend but went back to sleep, thinking it was a prank, officials and the girl who sounded the alarm said yesterday. The victims were between five and 12 years old. Five girls were injured in the fire on Sunday night. Many survived by rappelling down from a secondfloor window using sheets tied together to form a rope. The two-storey wooden structure that caught fire housed 38 girls, most of them belonging to the area’s ethnic minorities. Fifteen girls escaped without injuries. The cause of the fire was not immediately known. Some of the students were still not asleep when the fire broke out and were able to raise the alarm, said Rewat Wassana, manager of the Pithakkaiat Witthaya School, to which the dorm is attached. The kindergarten and primary school in Wiang Pa Pao district, just outside the city of Chiang Rai, has about 400 day students and boarders. It is about 800km north of the capital Bangkok. Rewat said the fire broke out in the dorm’s lower level, which is used for activities. The upper level housed the sleeping quarters. It is one of the two dorms in the eight-hectare school grounds.
DEADLY: Inside the fire-ravaged dorm at the school