Syrian tensions mount as car bomb kills one and injures fourteen

One person was killed on Tuesday when a car bomb exploded in the northern western Syrian city of Latakia. The explosion also left fourteen people wounded.

A report was the state-run Syrian news agency, SANA, said a Suzuki branded car exploded at the Hammam Square.

The state-run al-Ikhbariya news channel released video footage allegedly showing minutes after the explosion when a large group of people were rushing in fear around a destroyed vehicle.

It was reported that an improvised explosive device was defused before it could be detonated, according to the news report. There is no group that has laid claim to the attack, as yet.

Latakia, the Mediterranean coastal city close to the Turkish border, has been in government’s hands during Syria’s eight years of civil war, mainly with the help of the Russian naval basement in the region.

Backed by Russian and Iranian forces, Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has regained control over more than half of Syria in recent years. Attackers, however, have been targeting government-held Syrian cities, including eastern Damascus from time to time.

The US announced its withdrawal of 2 000 troops from the country in December, yet, the schedule has not been clear.

Damascus aims to regain control northern Syria, where US-supported Kurdish forces will be in charge as American forces will be withdrawn.

EU envoys to Damascus denied access by Al-Assad

European Union diplomats and officials travelling regularly between Beirut and Damascus as part of humanitarian aid projects to civilians were not let in the country by the government, Reuters reported.

Al-Assad has revoked special visas for EU representatives according to diplomatic sources.

Losing their multiple-entry Syrian visas for access to Damascus, EU officials have to apply for single-entry visas every time, which limits their duration of stay in the country.

Cancelling special visas is seen as an attempt to force European governments to re-open embassies in Damascus, said EU diplomats who spoke to Reuters.

“It’s a serious problem for the EU’s humanitarian assistance. This is a measure that hits diplomats and staff of European government embassies and the European Union institutions,” they said.

Surprisingly, the United Arab Emirates, once backing insurgents fighting against the Syrian army, reopened its embassy in Damascus in December.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has been the first Arab leader to visit Syria since the civil war began in 2011.

Kurdish armed group YPG to cooperate with Syrian Army

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