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Attacks hit two major Syria cities, kill 60 people

Attacks hit two major Syria cities, kill 60 people
At least 60 people have been killed in three separate terrorist attacks on the Syrian capital Damascus and the western city of Homs as foreign-backed militants are stepping up their deadly attacks against Syrians ahead of June 3 presidential election.

On Tuesday, a car bomb and a rocket attack in the city of Homs, located 162 kilometers (101 miles) north of the capital Damascus, claimed at least 45 lives and wounded scores of others.

A Syrian government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the bomb attack took place in the district of Zahra.

In Damascus, several mortar shells slammed into Shaghour neighborhood in the morning hours, killing at least 14 people and wounding dozens more.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the Homs and Damascus attacks. Syria’s state media said the attacks were launched by foreign-sponsored militants fighting against the Damascus government.

Foreign-backed militants regularly fire mortar shells and rockets into the heart of Damascus, often killing civilians. Terrorist groups have also attacked Syria’s cities with car bombs in the past months.

Tuesday attacks came a day after President Bashar Assad formally submitted his nomination to seek a third term in office in an election due to be held on June 3.

Syria’s foreign-backed opposition and the West have criticized the balloting, saying it would only exacerbate the Syrian conflict.

On April 26, Syria dismissed Western and opposition accusations regarding the presidential vote, saying that it is planning a free and transparent election.

Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since 2011. Over 150,000 people have reportedly been killed and millions displaced due to the violence fueled by Western-backed militants.

According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey — are supporting the militants operating inside Syria.

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