The Latest: Sources report explosions in Syrian province

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The Latest on developments in Syria (all times local):

2:45 p.m.

Syrian state media and an opposition monitoring group are reporting explosions near an air base in the central province of Hama.

State TV and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights did not give a reason for the explosions.

The Observatory said the air base is where government warplanes take off to carry out airstrikes on central and northern Syria. It said the explosion occurred inside the base adding that it was not clear if the explosion was result of a blast inside an arms depot.

In late April, a missile attack on government outposts in northern Syria killed more than a dozen pro-government fighters, many of them Iranians.

The strikes came amid soaring tensions between regional archenemies Israel and Iran.


11:35 a.m.

France's government is imposing new sanctions on people and companies suspected of helping Syria's chemical weapons program.

The Finance Ministry and Foreign Ministry announced Friday a freeze on assets of three individuals and nine companies involved in research or purchasing for the Syrian Scientific Research Center. The Syrian lab is accused of producing chemical weapons for President Bashar Assad's government.

France says companies from multiple countries have been furnishing materials for the manufacture of chemical weapons, including sarin gas.

France is hosting leading diplomats Friday for a meeting of a new body aimed at better identifying and punishing those who use chemical weapons.

The international chemical weapons watchdog said this week that chlorine was likely used in the rebel-held northern Syrian town of Saraqeb in February, the latest report of poison gas used in Syria's civil war.