Syrian rebels claim massive Aleppo hotel bombing

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This Wednesday, May 7, 2014 photo provided by the anti-government activist group Coordination Committee of Khalidiya Neighborhood in Homs, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows green buses carrying Free Syrian Army fighters leaving Homs, Syria. Exhausted and worn out from a year-long siege, hundreds of Syrian rebels on Wednesday left their last remaining bastions in the heart of the central city of Homs under a cease-fire deal with government forces. The exit of some 1,200 fighters and civilians will mark a de facto end of the rebellion in the battered city, which was one of the first places to rise up against President Bashar Assad’s rule, earning it the nickname of “capital of the revolution.” (AP Photo/The Coordination Committee of Khalidiya Neighborhood in Homs)

This Wednesday, May 7, 2014 photo provided by the anti-government activist group Coordination Committee of Khalidiya Neighborhood in Homs, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows green buses carrying Free Syrian Army fighters leaving Homs, Syria. Exhausted and worn out from a year-long siege, hundreds of Syrian rebels on Wednesday left their last remaining bastions in the heart of the central city of Homs under a cease-fire deal with government forces. The exit of some 1,200 fighters and civilians will mark a de facto end of the rebellion in the battered city, which was one of the first places to rise up against President Bashar Assad’s rule, earning it the nickname of “capital of the revolution.” (AP Photo/The Coordination Committee of Khalidiya Neighborhood in Homs)

This Wednesday, May 7, 2014 photo provided by the anti-government activist group Coordination Committee of Khalidiya Neighborhood in Homs, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows buses carrying Free Syrian Army fighters leaving Homs, Syria. Exhausted and worn out from a year-long siege, hundreds of Syrian rebels on Wednesday left their last remaining bastions in the heart of the central city of Homs under a cease-fire deal with government forces. The exit of some 1,200 fighters and civilians will mark a de facto end of the rebellion in the battered city, which was one of the first places to rise up against President Bashar Assad’s rule, earning it the nickname of “capital of the revolution.” (AP Photo/The Coordination Committee of Khalidiya Neighborhood in Homs)

This Wednesday, May 7, 2014 photo provided by the anti-government activist group Coordination Committee of Khalidiya Neighborhood in Homs, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows Free Syrian Army fighters on a bus leaving Homs, Syria. Exhausted and worn out from a year-long siege, hundreds of Syrian rebels on Wednesday left their last remaining bastions in the heart of the central city of Homs under a cease-fire deal with government forces. The exit of some 1,200 fighters and civilians will mark a de facto end of the rebellion in the battered city, which was one of the first places to rise up against President Bashar Assad’s rule, earning it the nickname of “capital of the revolution.” (AP Photo/The Coordination Committee of Khalidiya Neighborhood in Homs)

In this Wednesday, May 7, 2014 photo provided by the anti-government activist group Coordination Committee of Khalidiya Neighborhood in Homs, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Free Syrian Army fighters board a bus leaving Homs, Syria. Exhausted and worn out from a year-long siege, hundreds of Syrian rebels on Wednesday left their last remaining bastions in the heart of the central city of Homs under a cease-fire deal with government forces. The exit of some 1,200 fighters and civilians will mark a de facto end of the rebellion in the battered city, which was one of the first places to rise up against President Bashar Assad’s rule, earning it the nickname of “capital of the revolution.” (AP Photo/The Coordination Committee of Khalidiya Neighborhood in Homs)

This Wednesday, May 7, 2014 photo provided by the anti-government activist group Coordination Committee of Khalidiya Neighborhood in Homs, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows buses carrying Free Syrian Army fighters leaving Homs, Syria. Exhausted and worn out from a year-long siege, hundreds of Syrian rebels on Wednesday left their last remaining bastions in the heart of the central city of Homs under a cease-fire deal with government forces. The exit of some 1,200 fighters and civilians will mark a de facto end of the rebellion in the battered city, which was one of the first places to rise up against President Bashar Assad’s rule, earning it the nickname of “capital of the revolution.” (AP Photo/The Coordination Committee of Khalidiya Neighborhood in Homs)

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BEIRUT (AP) — A rebel-claimed bombing Thursday in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo leveled a hotel near the ancient Citadel that government troops used as a military base, causing multiple casualties, activists and militants said.

Syrian state television said the explosion struck the Carlton Hotel in a government-held area on the edge of a contested neighborhood in the old part of Aleppo.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which maintains a network of activists on the ground, said at least 16 soldiers were killed in the blast. The Islamic Front rebel umbrella group, which claimed the attack, claimed to have killed 50 soldiers. Both groups did not say how they know how many soldiers died, and the claims could not be independently verified.

In a live broadcast from the site of blast, the station’s correspondent in Aleppo stood on a huge pile of rubble with twisted metal and palm trees sticking out, saying that the army had been using the building as a base and soldiers were positioned there at the time of the explosion. In the broadcast, Syrian TV did not mention casualties.

The attack in Aleppo is a blow to

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