String Of Attacks In Pro-Regime Cities In Syria Leave Scores Dead : The Two-Way The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for bombings in Tartus and Jableh, strongholds of Bashar Assad's regime.
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String Of Attacks In Pro-Regime Cities In Syria Leave Scores Dead

Syrians gather at the site of multiple bombings in the northern coastal city of Jableh, between Latakia and Tartus, on Monday. Scores of people were killed in a spate of bombings in two regime bastions along Syria's coast. A total of seven blasts simultaneously, four in Jableh and three in Tartus, hit the two cities on Monday morning. Stringer/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Stringer/AFP/Getty Images

Syrians gather at the site of multiple bombings in the northern coastal city of Jableh, between Latakia and Tartus, on Monday. Scores of people were killed in a spate of bombings in two regime bastions along Syria's coast. A total of seven blasts simultaneously, four in Jableh and three in Tartus, hit the two cities on Monday morning.

Stringer/AFP/Getty Images

Suicide attacks in two pro-regime cities in Syria have left scores of people dead.

The bombings were claimed by the Islamic State, The Associated Press reports.

Tartus and Jableh, the two cities struck by a series of attacks on Monday, are both regime strongholds on Syria's coast, NPR's Alison Meuse reports.

Syrian news agency SANA says at least 78 people died in the attacks; a nonprofit human rights monitoring group says the death toll is even higher.

The string of attacks included suicide bombers and rockets targeting multiple bus stations and a suicide bomber at a hospital, the AP says.

"The attacks are a rare occurrence in the normally quiet and pro-government cities," the AP writes. "Russia keeps a naval base in Tartus and an air base in Latakia province. Insurgents maintain a presence in rural Latakia."

Reuters reports that the two cities had, until now, escaped the worst of Syria's war; neither community had suffered an attack like this before.

"Fighting has increased in other parts of Syria in recent weeks as world powers struggle to revive a threadbare ceasefire and resurrect peace talks that collapsed in Geneva this year," Reuters notes.

Update on May 24: The death toll from Monday's violence is now believed to be more than 150. The World Health Organization says 43 of the dead were doctors, nurses, patients and relatives at a hospital in Jableh.