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Syria: 11 killed in car bomb attacks in rebel-held area

January 31, 2021

A woman and child were among those killed when a car bomb exploded in the city of Azaz, monitors said. A separate blast targeted a checkpoint in northern Syria, which is controlled by Turkish-backed rebels.

Rescue workers extinguish a fire cause by an explosion in the town of Azaz in the rebel-controlled northern countryside of Syria's Aleppo province
Rescue workers extinguish a fire cause by an explosion in the city of Azaz, in the rebel-held northern area of Syria's Aleppo provinceImage: Nayef Al-Aboud/AFP/Getty Images

Car bombs in rebel-held areas of the Syrian province of Aleppo killed at least 11 people on Sunday, a war monitoring group said.

At least six civilians — including a woman and child — were killed when a car bomb detonated in the city of Azaz, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The Britain-based monitor said the explosion injured at least 30 other people and caused heavy damage to surrounding buildings.

The blast went off near the city's cultural center, which is being used by Turkey-backed rebels as the base of a self-styled opposition government, a police source told news agency dpa.

An AFP reporter on the scene reported seeing a man run away from the blast site carrying a child in a bloodied cloth. They also reported seeing black smoke billowing from a mangled car.

Rescue workers carry away a victim at the scene of an explosion in the town of Azaz, Syria
At least 30 people were injured in the blast in AzazImage: Nayef Al-Aboud/AFP/Getty Images

Blast at checkpoint

A separate car bomb attack in northern Syrian town of Bezaa targeted a checkpoint of a pro-Ankara group called the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

Five of the group's fighters were killed while another four were injured, the Reuters news agency reported, citing FSA sources.

Shooting at pro-government rally

In another incident on Sunday, Kurdish security forces opened fire on pro-Syrian government demonstrators in the northern city of Hassakeh.

One person was killed and four were injured, both the Observatory and state news agency SANA reported.

"It is not known whether the injured were civilians of the protesters or security agents," the Observatory said.

Violence rocks northern Syria

The deadly attacks on Sunday rounded out a violent weekend in northern Syria.

On Saturday, the city of Afrin was rocked by a blast from an explosives-laden car. At least eight civilians were killed — half of whom were children.

Damaged vehicles are seen after a bomb-laden vehicle exploded in northern Syria's Afrin
Four children were killed on Saturday in the city of Afrin after an explosives-laden vehicle detonatedImage: Hisam El Homsi/AA/picture alliance

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks. Turkey at its allied forces in Syria have regularly blamed the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.

Turkey considers the force a terrorist organization and offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Kurdish forces were pushed out of areas in northern Syria in 2019 after Turkey mounted an offensive in the region.

The Kurds are Syria's largest ethnic minority. Since the start of Syria's civil war in 2011, they have established a semi-autonomous territory in the north where they run their own affairs and control much of Syria's oil resources.

rs/rc (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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