Source: NOW. (Mystery blast rocks Syria coastal region)
An explosion has ripped through a mountainous area east of Latakia’s Bassel al-Assad International Airport, with conflicting reports emerging on the nature of the blast.
“An explosion of unknown nature was heard in the Jableh area and columns of smoke were seen rising from the location,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Thursday morning.
Meanwhile, the pro-regime Jableh Moment by Moment news page on Facebook said that the blast occurred near the village of Zama, adding that the cause of the explosion remains unconfirmed.
The small mountain village of Zama is located approximately 12 kilometers due east of Latakia’s airport, from where Russia has been conducting air raids on northern Syria.
Zama is adjacent to a site that is listed on the open-content collaborative mapping project Wikimapia as a “probable surface-to-surface missile facility.”
Location of blast remains in doubt
Despite the report by Jableh Moment by Moment, the location of Thursday’s blast remains in doubt, with an administrator of another pro-Damascus Facebook page calling on commenters not to mention the name of the area where the explosion took place.
However, some of the participants on the Jableh News Network page mentioned areas where they said the blast was felt.
“The explosion was very strong and next to our village. We don’t know what caused it yet,” said one commenter.
The commenter added that he was from the village of Al-Dalia and that the explosion had been “so strong it shook the whole house.”
Commenters on Jableh Moment by Moment’s post gave similar details to those mentioned by commenter on the Jableh News Network post, with one saying that the explosion had been heard in Al-Dalia while another also said that the explosion had shaken their house.
Al-Dalia is located 13 kilometers south of Zama.
One commenter provided yet further information, saying that the explosion had taken place in a stone quarry near their village. However, the name of the village in question was not mentioned.
As of midday Thursday, Syrian state media has not run any reports on the mysterious blast.
Rebel media claims “Scud hit”
The pro-opposition Step News Agency ran a short one-line report on the Thursday morning blast, saying that the Army of Islam had launched a Scud missile from its base in the eastern Qalamoun mountain range toward the Syrian coast.
The Army of Islam, the largest rebel group operating around the Syrian capital, reportedly captured a number of long range rockets in the Qalamoun region in 2013.
Meanwhile, the rebel Syrian Revolution Coordinators claimed that the blast was caused by a surface-to-surface missile whose source remains unknown.