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  • At least 50 pro-Assad forces killed in Syria suicide bombing, activists say
Explosion in Damascus - AFP - Nov 5, 2012
A handout picture released by the Syrian Arab News Agency shows Syrians inspecting the site of an explosion in the Mazzeh district of the capital Damascus on November 5, 2012. Photo by AFP
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An Islamist suicide car bomber killed at least 50 Syrian security men on Monday, an opposition group said, in what would be one of the bloodiest single attacks on President Bashar Assad's forces.

Syrian state media reported that a suicide bomber had targeted a rural development center in Sahl al-Ghab in Hama province, but put the death toll at two.

"A fighter from the Nusra Front blew himself up ... At least 50 were killed," said Rami Abdelrahman, the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. "He drove his car to the center and then blew himself up. A series of explosions followed."

Abdelrahman, whose monitoring group is based in Britain, said the rural development center was used by Syrian security forces as one of their biggest bases in the area.

The state news agency SANA said: "A terrorist blew himself up in the center which resulted in a number of casualties. Two citizens were killed and a number of them were wounded."

The Nusra Front is an Islamist group made up of militant Salafis, or radical Muslims. It has claimed responsibility for several suicide bombings in the past.

Also on Monday, a bomb attack in the Damascus district of Mezzeh killed 11 people and wounded dozens more, including children, Syrian state media and the observatory reported.

The state television report gave no further details. The U.K.-based watchdog, however, said at least 11 people had been killed and 30 wounded by a car bomb in the area known as "Mezzeh 86" - a district that is home to many government loyalists.

Meanwhile, at least 20 Syrian rebel fighters were killed in an air strike in the northwest province of Idlib on Monday, the observatory said.

The observatory said in a statement that a rebel commander was also probably killed in the air strike on the town of Haram. An activist named the commander as Basil Eissa, head of the Idlib Martyrs' Brigade.

Much of Idlib, which borders Turkey, has fallen to the rebels as Assad's ground forces have withdrawn. But like other rebel-controlled areas, it remains vulnerable to air strikes.

Meanwhile, a bomb attack in the Damascus district of Mezzeh killed 11 people and wounded dozens more on Monday, including children, Syrian state media and an activist group reported.

The state television report gave no further details. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based watchdog, said at least 11 people had been killed and 30 wounded by a car bomb in the area known as "Mezzeh 86" - a district that is home to many government loyalists.