The explosion at a carwash in the Al Sukari neighborhood came a day after security forces fired at protesters and two days after four students were killed at Aleppo University, a hotbed of dissent in a city that has remained mostly passive in the 14-month anti-government uprising.
In the capital, Damascus, two explosions were also reported Saturday morning in the center of the city, but it was not clear if anyone was injured, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
State media reported that three people, including a 10-year-old boy, were killed in Aleppo and more than 20 others were injured.
Although some opposition members blamed the government for orchestrating the explosion, the carwash was said to be owned by a man accused of being the head of a group of regime enforcers, raising questions about who may have been behind the attack.
One activist in the city said no one was killed in the explosion but that in response to the attack, the owner and accompanying security forces opened fire in the neighborhood, hitting a passing bus and killing the five people.
Al Sukari, a poor neighborhood on the edge of Aleppo, has been the site of some of the city’s most intense opposition to the government of Bashar Assad, and protesters come out regularly, sometimes facing gunfire.
Manar, an activist in the city, said armed groups that have carried out targeted attacks on regime enforcers and supporters in the past, might be responsible for the attack. The groups don’t seem to be allied with activists, who eschew violence, or with the rebel Free Syrian Army, which is observing the cease-fire, Manar said.
Photo: A photo made available by the Syrian Arab News Agency shows the wreck of a car at the explosion site in the Al Sukari neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria, on Saturday. Credit: EPA/SANA