"6And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
8All these are the beginning of sorrows."
BEIRUT (AP) — A suicide bomber who targeted a hospital in a Syrian coastal city the previous day killed 43 people, the World Health Organization said Tuesday, as an activist group raised the overall death toll from the day's unprecedented wave of attacks on government strongholds to 161.
A coalition of nearly 30 rebel factions have warned they would consider the partial cease-fire brokered in late February "dissolved" if the government does not end its offensives around besieged opposition-held suburbs of Damascus. Yet fighting had resumed in earnest around the country by late April.
The hospital, which was taking in victims from at least three other blasts that hit in the city on Monday — including one at a crowded bus station — was badly damaged and is no longer operational, WHO added.
The wave of bombings, claimed by the Islamic State group, struck two cities along Syria's Mediterranean coast that are government strongholds. Both have so far remained mostly immune to the violence of Syria's civil war, now in its sixth year.
The attacks signified a major breach in the security of President Bashar Assad's coastal strongholds.Syria's conflict, which began as a popular uprising against Assad's government in 2011, quickly descended into a full-blown civil war. Al-Qaida militants exploited the chaos to establish a foothold in the country, but the Sunni extremist group soon fractured, spawning the powerful Islamic State group. IS now controls a large swath of territory in the northeast and has proclaimed its self-styled "caliphate" on territories it holds in Syria and Iraq. Al-Qaida remains a major player in Syria's conflict through its affiliate, the Nusra Front.
The Russian military said it has called for a 72-hour cease-fire in Syria between government and opposition forces in two Damascus suburbs. In a statement issued late Monday, Lt. Gen. Sergei Kuralenko said this would allow Russian war planes to carry out airstrikes against the Nusra Front, the Syrian branch of al-Qaida.
He said Moscow urges "all parties concerned to stop offensive operations and shooting and to distance themselves from the regions controlled by" the al-Qaida affiliate in Syria.