BEIRUT: A car bomb struck a pro-government neighborhood in the central Syrian city of Homs on Sunday, killing at least 10 people, setting cars on fire and sending thick plumes of black smoke into the sky, activists and a government official said.
The blast in the Zahra district, which is predominantly inhabited by Alawites and Christians, sent tremors through Homs, where rebels and the government have struck two cease-fire deals this month that have restored at least a semblance of peace to the shattered city. The provincial governor, Talal Barazzi, said the attack targeted such reconciliation efforts in Homs.
An official in the Homs governor's office said 10 people were killed in the explosion Sunday and more than 40 were wounded. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.
The director of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights activist group, Rami Abdurrahman, put the death toll at 12. He also said more than 40 were wounded.
Differing death tolls are common in the immediate aftermath of attacks in Syria.
Syrian state television blamed the bombing on "terrorists," the term it uses to describe those fighting to oust President Bashar Assad. The station broadcast footage that showed cars on fire and people trying to push other vehicles away from the blast site.