The jihadis opened fire before detonating their explosives at two headquarters operated by Syrian government forces, killing at least 42 people including a senior military security officer, General Hassan Daaboul.
He was killed with 29 other victims at a military intelligence building, while 12 more people died at a state security branch, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Syrian state media reported that clashes rocked the districts of al-Ghouta and al-Mohata starting early on Saturday morning, before three suicide bombers blew themselves up.
Tahrir al-Sham, a new alliance of Islamist rebels formed last month, claimed responsibility for the assault and hailed its success on its propaganda channels, saying five “mujahideen” took part.
The group is a merger between Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, the rebranded al-Qaeda’s affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, and jihadi groups including Jabhat Ansar al-Din.
The terrorist group holds territory to the east of the city, including its symbolic stronghold of Palmyra, while opposition groups are positioned to the north.
Several bombings have targeted government-controlled Syrian cities in recent months, as well as territory retaken from Isis, including a blast that killed more than 60 people near al-Bab on Friday.
Homs was one of the largest opposition strongholds in the early days of the Syrian civil war, being taken over by rebel fighters before becoming a symbolic battleground for Bashar al-Assad’s forces.
Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin was among those killed in intense bombardment of the city during a brutal siege starting in 2011 that left much of Homs destroyed and thousands dead.
Five years of battle in what was once Syria’s third-largest city slowed with the gradual evacuation of rebel fighters that started in 2014, leaving all but one district under government control.
A new round of peace talks is underway in Geneva but hope of a political solution to the crisis is dwindling after almost six years of brutal civil war.
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