At least 69 including 17 children dead in apartment building blast in Syria: Monitoring group

A weapons depot in a basement exploded, monitoring group says.

The explosion happened on Sunday morning in the town of Sarmada, when a weapons depot in the basement of an apartment building detonated, according to the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Most of the residents in the building had been displaced from Syria’s Homs province, the organization said.

Fifty-two of those killed were civilians, including 17 children, and the rest were mostly rebel fighters, the monitoring group said.

The White Helmets, a Syrian search-and-rescue group, gave a slightly lower toll, saying 67 people were killed and another 37 injured in the explosion. The group said the explosion destroyed two buildings and that the search-and-rescue operation took 22 hours.