Middle East

Syria crisis: Car bomb 'kills dozens' in Hama province

Scene of car bombing in Hama (20/06/14) - picture from Syria's national news agency Sana Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Dozens were killed and wounded in the blast, which left a large crater

A car bomb has killed at least 34 people in a Syrian government-controlled village in central Hama province, state media say.

More than 50 people were reportedly hurt in the attack in Horra village.

The state news agency, Sana, blamed the bombing on rebels who have been fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.

More than 160,000 people are estimated to have been killed in Syria's three-year-long uprising.

Another 9.5 million people, or almost half the population, have been driven from their homes.

The Syrian uprising began in 2011 with peaceful protests inspired by the Arab Spring.

It has become a civil war, pitting government forces against rebel factions, many of whom are inspired by Islamist and sectarian rhetoric.

The UK-based activist group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, says the death toll in the Horra bombing is likely to rise as many of the injured are in a critical condition.

Separately on Friday, a suicide blast struck a police checkpoint leading into Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, on the main road between Beirut and Damascus. A member of the security forces died in the attack in Dahar al-Baidar.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The blast took place in the Bekaa Valley, a stronghold of the Lebanese militant Hezbollah group

Lebanese security chief Maj Gen Abbas Ibrahim's convoy had driven by minutes before the blast, which was believed to have been an assassination attempt.

It was the first such blast for several months in Lebanon, which has experienced a spill over from the Syrian conflict.