Huge Explosion Destroys Hotel in Syria
08 May 2014 -- A huge explosion has destroyed a hotel being used by the military along with several other buildings in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. Bashar al Assad's troops had made the hotel, the Carlton Citadel, their base, state media and activists said. There were believed to be casualties among the troops. The Islamic Front rebel group has claimed responsibility for the blast. The country's official news service also reported that terrorists - a term the government uses for rebels - had dug tunnels below the hotel and planted explosives in the attack in the ancient district of the city. The rebels are believed to have detonated the explosives remotely. Aleppo, Syria's largest city, is divided into rebel-held and government areas after the rebels launched an offensive there in 2010. The attack is a blow to the Assad regime in the north as his troops prepare to regain control of the rebel stronghold of Homs. Rebels on Tuesday relinquished control of the central city, the cradle of the Syrian uprising, marking a significant victory for the government. The Islamic Front is an alliance of several Islamic groups fighting to oust Assad. Many of its fighters have joined the Front after splitting from the Western-backed Syrian Free Army last year.