BEIRUT (Reuters) - Gunmen opened fire on a Syrian lawmaker in his car outside Hama city in the west of the country, killing him and another civilian, state news agency SANA said on Wednesday.
It said the attack on Waris al-Younes took place late on Tuesday and was carried out by unidentified “terrorists” - a reference to insurgents opposing government forces in Syria’s more than three-year-long conflict.
Pro-government forces regularly clash with groups including al Qaeda’s Nusra Front and other Islamist battallions in Hama. The province is in a stretch of territory in Syria’s west that is a priority for Damascus.
Younes, who was in his mid-40s, represented Hama province in the Syrian parliament, the report said, adding that he had died from bleeding from a gunshot wound to his chest. A civilian in another car nearby was also killed, it added.
On Wednesday Syrian warplanes carried out raids on the countryside in the east of Hama province and helicopters dropped barrel bombs in the north, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights which tracks the conflict.
On the ground, pro-government forces fought with Nusra Front and Islamist battalions in the north, the Observatory said.
On Syria’s Turkish border, American-led forces have sharply intensified air strikes in the past two days against Islamic State fighters threatening the Kurdish town of Kobani after the jihadists’ advance began to destabilize Turkey.
There have been several attacks targeting Syrian government officials since the start of the crisis in 2011.
In 2012, a suicide bomber killed three of President Bashar al-Assad’s top military officials in the capital and last April the prime minister survived a bomb attack on his convoy in Damascus, which killed six.
Reporting by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Catherine Evans