The Latest: Multiple blasts kill at least 20 in Syria

The Latest on a violent day in the Middle East, with deadly bombings in Syria and Yemen and the start of an Iraqi government offensive to retake the city of Fallujah from the Islamic State group (all times local):

11:45 a.m.

Syrian state TV says more than 20 people have been killed in multiple attacks in the coastal cities of Tartus and Jableh, strongholds of President Bashar Assad.

The TV report Monday said at least one suicide bomber on foot followed by a car bomber attacked a packed bus station in Tartus. An Interior Ministry official says more than 20 were killed and many injured.

Separately, Syria news agency SANA said three rockets were launched into Jableh, which lies 25 kilometers (15 miles) south of Latakia city, landing in a bus station, near the town's entrance.

The rare attacks occurred in the normally quiet pro-government coastal areas where Russia keeps a naval base in Tartus and an air base in Latakia province. Insurgents maintain a presence in rural Latakia.


11:15 a.m.

Officials say government forces have pushed Islamic State militants from some agricultural areas outside the city of Fallujah at the start of a military offensive aimed at recapturing the city from the Islamic State group.

Police 1st Lt. Ahmed Mahdi Salih said Monday that the ground fighting is taking place around the town of Garma, east of Fallujah, which is considered the main supply line to the militants. IS holds the center of Garma and some areas on its outskirts.

Col. Mahmoud al-Mardhi, who is in charge of paramilitary forces, says his troops recaptured at least three agricultural areas outside Garma.

Backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes and paramilitary troops, Iraqi government forces launched the long-awaited military offensive on Fallujah late Sunday night.


10:30 a.m.

Yemeni security officials say that a pair of suicide bombers killed at least 45 people in the southern city of Aden.

The officials said Monday that the two bombers targeted young men seeking to join the army. One suicide car bomber targeted a line outside an army recruitment center, killing at least 20. A second bomber on foot detonated his explosive vest among a group of recruits waiting outside the home of an army commander, killing at least 25.

The Yemeni officials all spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

Yemen's conflict pits the internationally recognized government against Shiite rebels who control the capital, Saana, and are allied with a former president. The country also contains active al-Qaida and Islamic State group affiliates.