Suicide Bombers Strike Syria Hotel

The state-run Syria news agency said on Tuesday that three different suicide bombers detonated explosive belts in a Qamishli hotel in northeastern Syria. The explosions killed three people.

The town is made up of a mostly Kurdish population and has seen heavy battles of recent between Kurds and members of a breakaway al-Qaeda group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant.

The official from Qamishli who is Kurdish, Juan Mohammed confirmed the attacks on Tuesday. He said there had been casualties but gave no figures. He said the bombs were exploded in the Hadaya hotel in the center of town where it was functioning as a municipality building.

Mohammed said several attackers wearing suicide belts attempted to storm the building that is heavily fortified and then blew themselves ups. One of the bombers was caught be security forces prior to being able to set off his explosives. He was being interrogated by security personnel.

The Kurdish official said the building is located near the town’s center and often times is extremely crowded. The fighters in the area were on alert following Tuesday’s attack.

Suspicion fell to the ISIL militants that have been fighting against the mostly Kurdish fighters for many months in northern Syria. Those battles between the two groups have left hundreds dead.

In Syria, the Kurds are the country’s largest ethnic minority with an estimated 2.3 million population in the country of 23 million people.

Also, Tuesday, the Syrian government announced it had let women prisoners go in exchange for the Greek Orthodox nuns released by rebels linked to al-Qaeda. However, Minister of Information Omran al-Zoubi said his government had only freed 25 women and not the more than 12 dozen the foreign mediators reported.

Lebanese and Qatari officials, who had mediated between the rebels and Damascus, said the 150 or more women were released on Monday.

Damascus normally does not make comments on the exchange of prisoners for people the rebels are holding. The remarks by al-Zoubi were rare from the government of Basher al-Assad the Syrian President.

In December, the nuns had been captured after fighters from the opposition overran a village of Christians north of Damascus.

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