Suicide attacks in two pro-regime cities in Syria have left scores of people dead.
The bombings were claimed by the Islamic State, The Associated Press reports.
Tartus and Jableh, the two cities struck by a series of attacks on Monday, are both regime strongholds on Syria’s coast, NPR’s Alison Meuse reports.
Syrian news agency SANA says at least 78 people died in the attacks; a nonprofit human rights monitoring group says the death toll is even higher.
The string of attacks included suicide bombers and rockets targeting multiple bus stations and a suicide bomber at a hospital, the AP says.
“The attacks are a rare occurrence in the normally quiet and pro-government cities,” the AP writes. “Russia keeps a naval base in Tartus and an air base in Latakia province. Insurgents maintain a presence in rural Latakia.”
Reuters reports that the two cities had, until now, escaped the worst of Syria’s war; neither community had suffered an attack like this before.
“Fighting has increased in other parts of Syria in recent weeks as world powers struggle to revive a threadbare ceasefire and resurrect peace talks that collapsed in Geneva this year,” Reuters notes.