Three suicide bombers have attacked a hotel building in the north eastern Syrian town of Qamishli, killing at least seven people, reports Fox News. The attackers blew themselves up in the premises of the Hadaya Hotel situated on the Al Wahded Street. Initial reports that came in from the state run news agency SANA put the death toll at three, followed by corrections later that took the toll up. The current casualty stands at seven people that include four women. Qamishli is the biggest Kurdish majority city in Syria.
The hotel seems to have been attacked owing to the fact that it functioned as a municipality building. The area near the hotel has been the scene of heavy fighting between Kurdish “Asayesh” security forces and members of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a breakaway Al Qaeda group, reports the Houston Chronicle. Another report says that the hotel was deemed a target because it was used by members of the Asayesh. It is unclear at this juncture if Asayesh members are a part of the casualties. According to eyewitnesses, “several people” forced their way into the hotel, shot the security guards dead at the gates before exploding grenades. Once inside the building, they blew themselves up, causing more destruction. According to reports, one of the attackers was caught before he could detonate his belt and is currently being questioned by local authorities. This would take the count of the total number of attackers to 4.
While no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, the needle of suspicion is immediately on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the group which has been at loggerheads with Kurdish security forces over the past months.
Kurds, who are a minority in Syria used to be discriminated by the Syrian regime. However, after the commencement of the uprising, the government made an uneasy truce with them and withdrew troops from the area in order to concentrate its efforts to quash the dissidents in the south. The Kurds, in return prevented opposition fighters from entering their territory who in turn blamed the Kurds for colluding with the Syrian regime. The Kurds, thanks to its new found powers went ahead and started building autonomous institutions, security forces and local councils. All this has resulted in them coming under attack from the Jihadists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
The latest attack is a continuation of the political crisis in Syria and seems to be showing no signs of abating – ever since it started back in April 2011. Apart from scores of people being killed, it has also created a huge humanitarian crisis in the region.
[Image Via timesofisrael.com]