At least 46 people were killed in a blast yesterday in a northern Syrian town controlled by Turkish-backed rebels, a war monitor said.
A booby-trapped fuel tanker exploded on the road to Rajo in the town of Afrin, which is controlled by Turkish troops and their allied rebel groups, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The blast also wounded at least 50 people, the watchdog said, adding that the death toll is likely to increase as most of the wounded were in critical condition.
The watchdog said it observed charred bodies of children and women and nine others for fighters allied with Turkey.
But the Turkish Defence Ministry said that 40 people were killed, including 11 children, and 47 were wounded.
The mainly Kurdish enclave of Afrin was captured by the Turkish military and allied Syrian rebel fighters during an offensive in 2018.
Similar car bombings have taken place over the past few months in Afrin. Rebels have accused the Kurdish-led People’s Protection Units (YPG) of being behind them.
Turkey launched an incursion into northeastern Syria on October 9, 2019, to push back Syrian Kurdish militias, which lost more than 10,000 people fighting alongside the US against Islamic State. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which were in control of swathes of northeastern Syria, is mainly led by the YPG, which Ankara considers to be linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a designated terrorist group fighting an insurgency on Turkish soil.