September 4, 2015 / 6:59 PM / 2 years ago

Druze leader killed in car bomb in southern Syria: monitor

BEIRUT (Reuters) - A car bomb blast killed a Druze leader and at least three other people in southern Syria on Friday, a monitor said.

The explosion on the outskirts of the town of Sweida killed Sheikh Wahid al-Balous, who opposed both the Syrian government and Islamist insurgents fighting against it, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

A separate blast that occurred around the same time in Sweida killed and wounded dozens of people, the Observatory said.

Syrian state television confirmed the two blasts and said eight people had been killed, blaming the explosions on insurgents.

The state media did not mention the Druze leader.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blasts.

After the attack, dozens of people protested outside government buildings in the Sweida area, setting cars alight and destroying a statue in the town of former President Hafez al-Assad, father of President Bashar al-Assad, the Observatory said.

Reporting by John Davison; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Lisa Shumaker

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