‘Innocent civilians’: Bomb kills 8 in Turkish-held Syrian town
A bomb that exploded on Sunday morning in a vegetable market in a northern Syrian border town controlled by Turkey-backed opposition fighters killed eight people and wounded 19 others.
The blast scorched market stalls and scattered produce in the town of Ras al-Ain along the border with Turkey.
Such bombings are common in the town, which was held by Kurdish forces before Turkish troops and their Syria proxies seized it last October.
Syria’s state news agency SANA said the explosion was caused by a car bomb while the United Kingdom-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said the explosion was caused by a motorcycle rigged with explosives.
The Syrian Observatory reported some of the wounded were in critical condition, adding that the dead included a woman and a child.
Turkey’s defence ministry blamed the attack on Kurdish fighters.
Ankara has blamed explosions that killed and wounded dozens of people in northeast Syria in recent months on Kurdish fighters linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which has waged a decades-long uprising inside Turkey.
Turkey views the Kurdish Syrian armed forces known as the YPG as “terrorists”, though the same fighters had partnered with the United States against the ISIL (ISIS) armed group.
“The terror organisation PKK/YPG once more targeted innocent civilians,” the ministry said on Twitter.
Turkey controls most of the Syrian territory bordering its southern frontier after a series of military operations. Last October, Turkish troops crossed into Syria’s northeast, capturing the Ras al-Ain area and driving Kurdish fighters away from the border after the US withdrew most of its forces from the region.
During its most recent incursion against the YPG last year, Ankara established a “safe zone” extending along 120km (70 miles) of the border and including the town of Ras al-Ain.
The area is a frequent target for bombings and other attacks. Last week, a car bomb killed four people and wounded 10.