The Latest: Journalists lightly wounded in IS blast in Syria
BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on the Syrian conflict (all times local):
Syrian opposition activists and Kurdish officials say several journalists have been lightly wounded in the northern city of Raqqa when the Islamic State group detonated a car bomb near a house they use.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Kurdish official Nawaf Khalil said the blast occurred Wednesday.
Journalist Yazir Othman of the Arab 24 network said several journalists including some with his network suffered bruises because of the blast.
It was not immediately clear if IS hit the building with the aim of targeting journalists.
The extremist group has killed journalists and media activists it was holding in the past.
The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have been on the offensive to capture the city of Raqqa since June 6. The Kurdish-led group now controls half of the city.
Russia says its embassy in Syria has come under mortar shelling but not one has been hurt.
The Russian Foreign Ministry says two mortar rounds landed Wednesday inside its embassy compound in the Syrian capital Damascus, and two others exploded just outside its fence. It said the shelling inflicted only “insignificant material damage.”
It said that Moscow “resolutely condemns terror attacks against the Russian embassy.” The embassy has repeatedly come under such attacks, but there have been no casualties.
Russia has run an air campaign in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad since 2015.
The exchange between Syria’s al-Qaida branch and Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group has resumed in what will lead to the return of thousands of Syrian refugees to their country.
Some 9,000 Syrian refugees and gunmen were waiting to leave Lebanon’s Arsal region and head to a jihadi-held part of Syria, according to an agreement between Lebanon, Syria, Hezbollah, and Syria’s al-Qaida affiliate known as Levant Liberation Committee, or HTS.
Three Hezbollah fighters were released on Wednesday morning by an al-Qaida affiliate in Syria, in return for the release of three al-Qaida fighters who were held in Lebanon. Scores of buses carrying Syrian refugees were expected to move later in the day toward Syria’s rebel-held northwestern province of Idlib.
The al-Qaida faction will release five more Hezbollah fighters held in Syria.