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Fire in Syrian clinic kills at least 24 people

At least 24 people have been killed in an explosion and fire at a medical clinic in the north-eastern Syrian city of Qamishli. Most of the victims of the blaze were children.

The fire in the medical clinic in Qamishli was caused by the explosion of a gas cylinder on Sunday, which ignited several oxygen cylinders, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. According to this monitoring group, 24 people were killed in the fire.

Official Syrian media reported that at least 27 people died in the fire and about 30 others were injured. State news agency Sana cited police sources as saying that dry branches had caught fire and the blaze spread to a fuel tank which exploded.

State television said most of the victims of the blaze in the clinic were children. The Kurdish news site Welati reported that the fire happened while parents were bringing their children to the clinic for regular vaccination.

Control of the city of Qamishli in warn-torn Syria is divided between Kurdish forces and regime troops loyal to president Bashar al-Assad. The violent Syrian conflict that began in March 2011 with anti-government protests has left more than 220,000 people dead.

das/bw (AFP, dpa)

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