At least six civilians dead after three simultaneous bombings in northern Syria

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Three simultaneous bombings rocked a market in the Kurdish-majority city of Qamishli in northeastern Syria Monday, killing at least six civilians, a Kurdish security source and a Britain-based monitor said.

An AFP correspondent saw charred cars and smoke rise from the site of the blasts, which the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said were caused by two car bombings and an explosives-rigged motorcycle.

Northern Syria has been hit by explosions that have killed and wounded scores of people over the past months.

State news agency SANA, which has reporters in the town, said the explosions were triggered by car bombs. It said two blasts went off in a commercial street while the third exploded near a hotel.

The Kurdish news agency Hawar said the blasts killed three people and wounded five others. It said two of the explosions hit a market.

The Rojava Information Center, an activist collective, earlier reported that the blasts were caused by motorcycles rigged with explosives but later said the three were car bombs. It said several people were wounded in the blasts.

Different casualty figures are not uncommon in the immediate aftermath of explosions.

Also in northern Syria, unknown gunmen shot dead an Armenian Catholic priest and his father as they drove from Qamishli to the northeastern city of Hasakeh, according to Hawar and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor.

Earlier in the day, Russia Today aired an interview with Syrian President Bashar Assad, who said his forces will soon retake control of the last major rebel stronghold in the country’s northwestern province of Idlib.

Assad said in the interview that they are now giving civilians some time to leave the area, which is dominated by al-Qaeda-linked militants.

Syrian troops launched a four-month offensive on the province earlier this year, forcing hundreds of thousands of civilians to flee their homes and capturing the important town of Khan Sheikhoun and several other villages and towns.

A cease-fire stopped the government offensive on Idlib at the end of August but in recent days, opposition activists have reported shelling and airstrikes in the area.

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