Car bomb attack kills five in east Syria: watchdog

A car bomb attack in front of a church and close to a restaurant in the east Syria city of Deir Ezzor killed at least five people Saturday, a watchdog said, while the regime blamed the blast on “terrorists.”

The attack further eroded a ceasefire the main warring parties in Syria had agreed for the four-day Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha that came into effect on Friday but was barely observed.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the car bomb was near the Laylaty restaurant in Deir Ezzor, while state television said it caused damage to a Syriac church facade in the embattled city. It did not mention any casualties.

“Armed terrorist groups have again violated the truce, by setting off a car bomb blast in front of the Syriac church in Deir Ezzor, causing significant material damage to the church facade,” the broadcaster said, using the regime’s term for armed rebels.

Deir Ezzor neighbours Iraq, and has seen intense battles since the mid-summer.

Syria’s main opposition coalition, the Syrian National Council, declared Deir Ezzor a “disaster area” earlier this month.

The Britain-based Observatory, which relies on a countrywide network of activists and medics in civilian and military hospitals, said at least 146 people died in fighting, shelling and bombs on Friday, the first day of the truce.

The Observatory says its tolls take into account civilian, military, and rebel casualties.