Syrian human rights groups believe that over 120 people were killed in seven early morning bombings in the cities of Jableh and Tartus — regions of Syria thought to be firmly under the control of President Bashar al-Assad. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying in a statement that they targeted members of the Shiite minority Alawite — a sect to which Assad belongs.
The bombs, which were nearly simultaneous, were mainly suicide attacks and took a reported 73 lives in Jableh and 48 in Tartus. The head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdel Rahman, told AFP that the attacks were "without a doubt the deadliest" on the cities since the civil war began in March 2011.
ISIS was not formerly thought to have a presence in the coastal cities, which are considered the heartland of President Assad's territory and are mainly dominated by the rival jihadist group, Al-Nusra Front.
Targets in the attacks included a bus station as well as a government hospital. A police officer told AFP that one suicide attacker detonated inside the emergency room.