An explosion ripped through a pipeline pumping oil to the Syrian flashpoint city of Homs today, sending thick plumes of smoke into the sky, the New York Times reports. Syria's state-run Sana news agency blamed the blast on "armed terrorist groups," while anti-government activists speculated that the regime may have blown the pipeline off itself as part of its plan to besiege the restive city.
The blast hit at about 1am local time, but was still burning at noon, spewing smoke that one resident said was making it hard to breathe. "I can see mothers covering their children with blankets," he reported. The Syrian Oil Company tells the AP that 140,000 barrels of oil move through the pipeline per day. (Read more Syria stories.)