May 23, 6:19 AM EDT

Syrian state TV reports explosion in central city of Homs killing 4; government forces blow up truck bomb



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Syrian state TV reports explosion in central city of Homs killing 4; government forces blow up truck bomb

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is calling for a shift in the way the U.N. and aid groups support Syrian refugees

A Syrian official has declared the country's third largest city Homs clear of armed opposition for the first time in more than five years, following the completion of the evacuation of the last holdout neighborhood.

Syria is rejecting U.S. accusations it carried out mass killings at a prison near Damascus and then burned the victims' bodies in a crematorium, describing the allegations as "lies" and "fabrications."

BEIRUT (AP) -- An explosion in the central Syrian city of Homs on Tuesday killed at least four people and wounded more than two dozen while government forces "destroyed" a truck bomb near the Damascus airport, Syria's state media reported.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the explosions.

Homs police commander Lt. Gen. Khaled Hilal told state TV that two suicide attackers detonated their explosives-laden car as they were being surrounded by troops. Along with the four killed, Syrian state TV said 30 people were wounded in the explosion.

The blast in Homs came two days after opposition fighters left al-Waer, the city's last rebel-held neighborhood, bringing the entire city back under government control for the first time in more than five years.

Most major Syrian cities have at this point reverted to government control. Syria's civil war, now in its seventh year, has left about 400,000 people dead and millions displaced from their homes.

Hilal said the Homs attack was a "new crime in response to the victories of the Syrian Arab army." State TV aired footage from the area showing charred cars and a street full of debris as paramedics in red uniforms searched for casualties.

The TV also reported that Syrian forces hit a pickup truck rigged with explosives on the road leading to the Damascus International Airport. It said the explosion killed two "terrorists."

Also near Damascus, the International Committee of the Red Cross said a convoy of 42 trucks carrying food and medical supplies had entered the eastern, opposition-held suburb of Jairoud. The ICRC said the supplies are for 36,000 people and that the delivery was carried out in coordination with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the United Nations.

Tens of thousands of people in Syria still live in areas besieged by rival groups.

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