Nearly a dozen Syrian government troops and allied fighters from popular defense groups have lost their lives when massive explosions ripped through weapons and fuel depots at a military airbase in Syria’s central province of Hama.
Syria’s official news agency SANA reported that four consecutive blasts occurred as result of a fire at the site on Friday afternoon.
Pictures posted on social media networks showed a huge plume of grey smoke billowing into the sky.
Firefighters have been deployed to the area and trying to extinguish the blaze.
“The explosions struck several depots of weapons and fuel at Hama military airport,” Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, later said.
“They were probably caused by a technical problem,” he added.
bdel Rahman said eleven Syrian soldiers and allied fighters were killed in the explosions, while dozens more sustained injuries or are still unaccounted for.
The incident took place as Syrian army troops and fighters from popular defense groups have made new territorial gains in Hama, retaking areas in the southern part of the province after the evacuation of foreign-sponsored Takfiri militants towards the militant-held northern province of Idlib.