Police truck ambushed, at least 24 killed in fresh violence in Syria - USATODAY.com
A string of explosions struck a police truck transporting prisoners in a tense area of northwestern Syria on Saturday, killing at least 14 people, state media and an opposition group said. Government troops also battled defectors in the north in fighting that left 10 people dead.
The 10-month uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad began with largely peaceful anti-government protests, but has turned increasingly militarized and chaotic in recent months as more frustrated regime opponents and army defectors arm themselves and fight back against government forces.
The official SANA news agency said the ambush of the police truck occurred on the Idlib-Ariha highway, an area near the Turkish border that has witnessed intense fighting with army defectors recently. SANA blamed the attack on “terrorists.
It said four bombs that went off in “two phases” hit the truck, and then attackers targeted an ambulance that arrived to assist the wounded. Six policemen who were accompanying the prisoners were also wounded, some of them in critical condition, it said.
The British-based opposition activist group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, confirmed the incident Saturday and said 15 prisoners were killed.
Rami Abdul-Rahman, director of the group, said the truck was hit by several roadside bombs, but it was not clear who was behind the attack.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but members of the so-called Free Syrian Army are known to be active in the area. The Free Syrian Army is a group of army defectors led by a Turkey-based defected colonel who sided with the protesters and have carried out attacks on regime forces.
A Syria-based activist said the area has several army encampments and is full of roadside bombs planted to target army tanks passing by, adding that the truck carrying prisoners may not have been the intended target.
The activist spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.