A huge explosion rocked the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on Thursday, completely destroying a luxury hotel used by government troops as a base and reportedly killing an unknown number of people, media and activists said.
According to Syrian state television and British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the blast occurred at the prestigious Carlton Hotel, which lies on the edge of a contested quarter of the city’s ancient citadel, next to rebel positions.
The observatory said there were several casualties in the blast – which also inflicted damage to nearby buildings – but did not give a number.
Local activist group Sham News Network said President Bashar Assad’s troops were based in the Carlton.
According to the observatory, rebels belonging to the Islamic Front group planted a huge amount of explosives in a tunnel underneath the hotel and detonated them remotely.
Aleppo, the country’s largest city and former commercial hub, has been carved up into rebel-held and government-held areas since the rebels launched an offensive there in July 2012, capturing territory along Syria’s northern border with Turkey.
In recent months, government aircraft have relentlessly bombed rebel-held areas of the city, with opposition fighters retaliating by firing mortars into government-held areas. The rebels have also detonated car bombs in some residential areas, killing dozens of people.
(FRANCE 24 with AP)
Date created : 2014-05-08