Suicide attacks in two pro-regime cities in Syria have left scores of people dead.

The bombings were claimed by the Islamic State, The Associated Press reports.

Tartus and Jableh, the two cities struck by a series of attacks on Monday, are both regime strongholds on Syria's coast, NPR's Alison Meuse reports.

Syrian news agency SANA says at least 78 people died in the attacks; a nonprofit human rights monitoring group says the death toll is even higher.

The string of attacks included suicide bombers and rockets targeting multiple bus stations and a suicide bomber at a hospital, the AP says.

"The attacks are a rare occurrence in the normally quiet and pro-government cities," the AP writes. "Russia keeps a naval base in Tartus and an air base in Latakia province. Insurgents maintain a presence in rural Latakia."

Reuters reports that the two cities had, until now, escaped the worst of Syria's war; neither community had suffered an attack like this before.

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