Latakia citySeptember 3, 2015http://syriadirect.org/news/syria-direct-news-update-9-3-15/For the first time in four and a half years of war, a car bomb exploded in Latakia city, killing as many as 17 people in the northeast al-Hamam Square, which citizens had believed to be secure due to its majority Alawite, military-family residents, Latakia-based journalist Salim al-Amar told Syria Direct on Thursday. The area surrounding al-Hamam square is “extremely secure, in order to even get through to it, a car has to get through dozens of checkpoints,” explained al-Amar. “It’s so tough to get to that people are even pointing fingers at the regime, saying it carried out the bombing,” the journalist said. Following the blast, regime security personnel reportedly arrested two would-be-bombers, of unknown identity and affiliation, attempting to drive their explosives-laden vehicles into Latakia to ostensibly execute yet further attacks, reported state news agency SANA on Wednesday. Syria’s Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi condemned the attack, calling it “a cowardly deed,” [that] “will not stop the Syrian people from thwarting the terrorists’ war,” noted the same SANA report. No party has claimed credit for the blast.