DAMASCUS, SYRIA (8:00 P.M.) – Late on Sunday afternoon, a handful of local residents on the outskirts of Latakia city were bombed by a lone GRAD rocket launched from the rebel-held countryside towards the provincial capital.
The rocket struck the coastal town of Qantarah barely five kilometers from the northern suburbs of Latakia. At least one person was killed and four injured, a medical team confirmed to Al-Masdar News. The source added that no soldiers were hit and the attack appeared random.
Photos of the incident, released by a local outlet moments ago:
In response, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) shelled the suspected launch position in Kibbani, targeting a gathering of unidentified rebel militants. The region has otherwise been relatively calm for months on end, largely due to the UN-brokered Astana ceasefire talks.
Earlier this year in April, Islamist insurgents also shelled the nearby town of Qardahah, the symbolic birthplace of late Hafez Al-Assad.
Latakia city has been bombed repeatedly since 2013, but most rebel artillery now remains outside the range of the densely populated provincial capital due to a succesful SAA offensive that saw much of the mountainous countryside retaken from October 2015 until March 2016.
Contrary to many other Syrian cities, Latakia has been under government control since day one of the conflict. The city used to be the home of a mixed community of Orthodox Christians and Alawites but has since witnessed a large influx of mostly Sunni refugees fleeing battle zones elsewhere in the countryside.