Breaking news

At least nine individuals have been killed in a car bomb attack in the town of Jableh in eastern Syria, a government-held town in the majority Shia province of Latakia.

The Syrian State TV confirmed the death toll from the blast, which is the first such attack since the start of a week-long ceasefire in the country. Reports on social media put the death toll as high as 14.

The Associated Press reported that the attack appeared to have taken place in a commercial area. The first images shared on social media from the scene of the blast showed a number of destroyed shop fronts and cars.

In earlier images large fires sending clouds of dark black smoke could be seen where the explosion took place. As the fires subsided civilians and troops dressed in camouflage could be seen in the footage moving between a number of mangled, blown-out vehicles.

The attack is the largest in the Allawite heartlands, the Shia sect to which President Bashar al-Assad and his family belong, since a string of blasts in May 2016 initially targeting a bus station and then outside a hospital treating the wounded. One hundred and twenty were killed in the attack which was later claimed by the Islamic State (Isis).

While no group has claimed responsibility for the Jableh explosion, the blast bears all the hallmarks of an Isis attack. The militant group is not part of the truce agreed to in Syria between government and rebel forces and brokered by Turkey and Russia.