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Al-Nusra claim twin car bomb attacks in Homs

The Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate say they carried out two car bomb attacks in Homs on Saturday killing 12 and wounding 30
Rebel groups have been battling Syrian forces for more than three years (AFP)

The al-Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda affiliate fighting in the Syrian civil war, claimed responsibility on Monday for two car bomb attacks a day earlier in the central city of Homs that killed 12 people, according to the governor.

The tweet, translated to English, says "targeting a gathering of regime militia in the Zahara neighbourhood through two car bombs in the city of Homs" and includes a link to a longer statement by the group.

"God generously made it possible for the jihadists of Al-Nusra Front in Homs . . . to break through the strongholds of the regime's shabiha (militia) . . . despite the many obstacles, security barriers and checkpoints," the group said in the longer statement.

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It also said the first car bomb was parked in the district of Zahraa, in eastern Homs, and the second in the west of the city. Both suicide car bomb attackers, said the Al-Nusra Front, "were detonated at the same time, in order to secure the highest death toll possible."

Homs governor Talal al-Barazi told AFP on Monday that the toll from the first car bomb attack had risen to 12 dead and 23 wounded, revising a toll he had given a day earlier of 10. The second attack in the west of Homs wounded seven people.

Homs has seen some of the worst violence in Syria since the outbreak of the 2011 uprising against President Bashar al-Assad that turned into a civil war, which has left more than 162,000 people dead according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

For almost two years, anti-regime fighters and local residents were trapped in a suffocating army siege of the Old City in the heart of Homs.

They were evacuated this month under an unprecedented deal involving a major rebel coalition and Iran, a strong backer of the Assad regime.

The end of the Old City siege brought it back under regime control, leaving only the Waer district in northwest Homs in rebel hands.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and activists say a deal is being negotiated for a truce in Waer, which is home to hundreds of thousands of civilians.

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