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Premature blast kills 29 Syrian rebels

At least 29 rebels died in a blast while priming a car bomb for an attack, a monitoring group said on Sunda

Published: Updated:

At least 29 rebels died in a blast while priming a car bomb for an attack, a monitoring group said on Sunday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said the deceased, most or all of them believed to be rebels, died in the besieged Old City of Homs, under rebel control.

"The death toll is likely to rise because there are dozens of people missing and body parts in the area of the blast," the Britain-based group said.

State news agency SANA also reported the blast, saying a car had exploded while being loaded with explosives.

One activist network, the Syrian Revolution General Commission, said the blast was the result of a rocket landing on an ammunition deport in the area. The claim could not be independently confirmed.

In the capital, meanwhile, two people were killed when mortar fire struck the Damascus Opera House, state media reported.

"Two people were killed and five wounded by a mortar round that hit the Damascus Opera House" near key government and military buildings on Umayyad Square, SANA said.

While nearly 1,400 civilians were evacuated under United Nations supervision this year, an estimated 1,500 people remain.

Increased rebel fire against Damascus comes as government forces have amplified its campaign to crush insurgents in the eastern suburbs.

On Sunday, the Observatory said five civilians, including three children, were killed in air strikes carried out by the Syrian regime in northeast Damascus.

More air raids and violent fighting was reported in Mleiha, a province southwest of the capital.

In northern Aleppo province, the Observatory said two people, including a child, were killed in raids using explosive-packed barrels bombs, an army tactic that has caused dozens of deaths.

(With AFP)