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30 pro-regime forces killed in Syria blast

From Hamdi Alkhshali and Greg Botelho, CNN
updated 9:27 AM EST, Tue January 22, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: At least 110 deaths reported Monday, according to anti-government group
  • A suicide car bomb explodes near a building of a local People's Committee group
  • The blast, in eastern Hama, kills at least 30 pro-regime forces, with more dead possible
  • The U.N. estimates more than 60,000 Syrians have died in unrest over nearly two years

(CNN) -- A suicide car bomb exploded Monday outside the headquarters of a local government-sanctioned armed group in Syria, killing at least 30 armed people loyal to embattled President Bashar al-Assad, according to an opposition group and state-run television.

The blast occurred at an old carpet factory in the eastern Hama countryside that was being used by the local People's Committee group, according the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Read more: Envoy: 2013 could bring 100,000 deaths in Syria

Citing medical sources, the opposition group predicted the death toll may increase to more than 50 and said civilians also died in the explosion. Dozens have been wounded, some of them critically. The Syrian Arab News Agency also reported the death toll at 30 and said more than 50 people were wounded in the blast.

Civilians caught in Damascus crossfire
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Earlier Monday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported another significant explosion -- this one in Dummar in the suburbs of Damascus, Syria's capital. That blast also appeared to stem from a car bomb and caused an unknown number of casualties, the group said, pointing to preliminary reports.

Read more: Opposition can't settle on new PM

The United Nations estimated earlier this month that more than 60,000 people have been killed in Syria since unrest began in the country nearly two years ago. That might be an "underestimate," according to U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, who said Syria's raging civil war has made it "increasingly challenging" to collect accurate and reliable data.

Read more: Suspect held in killing of Kurdish activists

The Local Coordination Committees of Syria, another opposition group, reported at least 110 deaths Monday across the Middle Eastern nation. That figure includes 31 dead in the province of Aleppo, 26 in and around Damascus and at least 17 in Homs.

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