DAMASCUS (TheBlaze/AP) — Rockets slammed into government-held districts Thursday in the central Syrian city of Homs, setting off successive explosions in a weapons depot that killed at least 40 people, an opposition group and residents said. And now video posted on the Internet appears to show the moment it all happened.
You can watch the video circulating, below:
The blasts came hours after state TV showed President Bashar Assad making a rare visit to a former rebel bastion near the capital, Damascus, to mark Army Day.
The twin developments showed that rebels fighting to oust Assad are still able to strike back despite significant advances by the military that have bolstered the confidence of the regime
One resident in Homs said the blasts, which sent a massive ball of fire, thick smoke and dust into the sky, were so strong they cracked the walls of some buildings and shook the ground.
The blasts sent a massive ball of fire into the sky and caused widespread damage and panic among residents, many of whom are supporters of President Bashar Assad.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which closely monitors the fighting via a network of activists on the ground, said 40 people were killed and 120 were wounded – some critically – when rockets struck the arms depot and ignited the fire.
A resident of Homs corroborated that account, saying he heard blasts for more than an hour after the first explosion. He said they could be heard from the overwhelmingly pro-regime districts of Wadi Dahab and al-Walid, where the regime is known to keep arms depots.
“Rockets were falling on the area … when the arms depot began to explode but we don’t know if the rockets triggered the blasts,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.
He said the explosions were so strong that “they shook parts of the city.” They also shattered all windows in the area and cracked walls, he added.
He said he spoke with Syrian Arab Red Crescent paramedics who told him that at least 22 bodies were taken to hospitals.
An official at the governor’s office in Homs said six people were killed and 130 wounded when about 10 rockets slammed into the neighborhood of Zahra and the nearby sports stadium. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to release the information.
Government officials often give conflicting figures than those provided by the opposition. There was no immediately explanation for the discrepancy, and state-run media did not report the incident.
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Featured image screen grab.