The suicide explosions occurred as children were leaving school – Ekremah al-Makhzoumi elementary school – at the end of classes on Wednesday, in a neighbourhood inhabited by minority Alawites, the sect that President Bashar al-Assad belongs to.
The explosion is one of the deadliest strikes to hit the area in months.
Footage shared on a Facebook page and SANA (Syrian News Agency) showed young students in blue school uniforms running away from an explosion. Distraught parents searched for their children amid scattered schoolbags and blood on the ground, as cars burn nearby.
The pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is based in London, confirmed the twin explosions, reporting that at least 39 people were killed, including 30 children. Additionally, 7 adults were reportedly killed in the same explosions: four civilians and three members of the security forces.
Local media said 115 people were injured. State-run media outlet SANA also reported the bombings, as did the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which gathers information from a network of ‘activists’ inside Syria.
“At least 41 schoolchildren were killed in the double bombing at the Akrameh al-Makhzumi school in Homs city today. Several children are still missing, and the toll may rise further still.”
According to media reports, the first explosion originated from a car bomb and was detonated in front of the Ekrimah primary school. The next one blew up after less than another 20 minutes, detonated by a suicide bomber who drove by and scattered himself and his vehicle to the wind, he is believed to be the same terrorist responsible for the first one. Yet, there is no clear responsibility for the attack.
The double explosion appears to be the deadliest in months targeting civilians in government-controlled areas.
The bomb attacks took place as students were leaving school, according to the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA):
“The attacks took place at the time when students were leaving school, to inflict maximum casualties.”
The representative in Syria for the United Nations’ Children’s Fund, Hanaa Singer, classified the attacks “a despicable act against innocent children,” She said:
“All parties to the conflict have an obligation to protect civilians and respect the sanctity of schools as safe havens where children’s right to education can be fulfilled.”
Photos of the explosions (Source: Social Media) [Graphic Content]
Photos of some children who were killed in the explosions (Source: Social Media)
Most of the residents in Homs’ Ekremah district are Alawites, an offshoot of Shiite Islam. Alawites, Christians and Druze are targets of so called “rebels” car explosions, mortar shelling, beheadings and more! Some sects of the Sunni Muslims, which most of the so called “rebels” belong to, vowed to kill Alawites, Christians and Druze, considering them “infidels”.
Before the beginning of the war in Syria in 2011, all these sects were living together and without problems. I am not just getting this from second hand: I have lived here the entire time. Three years of foreign-backed war were enough to destroy not only neighborhoods in Homs (especially Homs’ historic Old City), but also the humanity of some.