At least 42 people have been killed in a car bomb attack reportedly perpetrated by the so-called "Islamic State" (IS) militant group. The town was captured from IS by Turkish-backed Syrian rebels on Thursday.
Scores of civilians and soldiers were killed in a car bomb attack on Friday in Sousian village, located north of the Syrian town of al-Bab.
Rami Abdurrahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, put the death toll at 42, adding that "the number is likely to further increase." Many more were also wounded in the attack.
According to news agency Reuters, the attack was perpetrated by the so-called "Islamic State" (IS) terror group.
A suicide bomber struck a security checkpoint controlled by Turkish-backed Syrian rebels as civilians gathered to seek permission to return to the town. On Thursday, rebels fighting under the Free Syrian Army banner declared al-Bab, located just 25 kilometers (15 miles) south of the Turkish border, liberated from IS after more than two months of fighting.
A rebel fighter with the Sultan Murad Brigade said: "It (the attack) was done on a checkpoint but there were a lot of families gathered there and waiting to get back to al-Bab. Therefore we have many civilian casualties."
Turkey's bloody incursion into Syria
The campaign to liberate al-Bab proved to be one of the bloodiest in Turkey's campaign in Syria, with at least 69 Turkish soldiers killed. On Thursday, several were killed while clearing the town of unexploded ordnance after militants had retreated.
The town was IS' last major stronghold in northwest Syria. However, militants continue to control many of the areas southeast of al-Bab, according to Abdurrahman.
Last week, the Observatory reported that more than 400 al-Bab civilians had been killed in Turkish bombardments since November. Turkey, meanwhile, said it has killed hundreds of IS fighters since it sent forces over the border in August, although the figures cannot be verified.
dm/se (AP, dpa, Reuters)