Syria says fires hit oil tankers near Homs refinery, no casualties

Syrian civil defense teams were extinguishing a huge fire that swept a number of oil tankers loading crude oil from an installation near the country's main Homs refinery after a blast that hit the depot area, state media said.

An explosion had earlier hit a government-owned crude oil transportation company in the city and oil tankers loading crude oil from the installation then caught fire, state media reported.

The governor of Homs, Bassam Barsik, was quoted on state media as saying civil defense teams were working on extinguishing the fire that erupted during "the loading of crude oil".

"There are no human casualties and we are working on containing the spread of the fire," Barsik said.

It was not clear if the explosions were an accident or the result of sabotage in a war-torn country where violence has subsided but insurgents and rebels still wage attacks in government-held areas.

There have been hit-and-run attacks on government forces in the central province of Homs in recent months by remnants of Islamic State militants who take shelter in outlying, sparsely populated areas.

The Russian air force has also been active in recent weeks in helping the Syrian army bomb suspected hideouts of militants in the Homs area.

(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi in Amman Editing by Bernadette Baum and Matthew Lewis)

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