Blast causes deaths in Syria’s rebel-held Afrin


People gather at the site of a car bomb blast in front of a church in Qamishli, Syria July 11, 2019. REUTERS/Rodi Said

BEIRUT (Reuters) – A car bomb killed 11 people and wounded many others on Thursday in Syria’s Afrin city, which Turkey-backed rebels captured from Kurdish fighters last year, medical sources and a monitor said.

The blast struck an entrance to the city, killing civilians including children, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitoring group said.

The Observatory and the medical sources said many other people had been injured in the explosion, some very badly.

Afrin lies north of Aleppo near the border with Turkey. It was held by the Kurdish YPG militia until last year when rebels seized it and the countryside around it in a Turkey-backed offensive.

Later in the afternoon, a car bomb exploded in front of a church in the northeast city of Qamishli, which the YPG controls, a witness and state news agency SANA said.

While major fighting has died down, for now, in many parts of Syria, there is still much insecurity, with bombings and other attacks targeting civilians in areas controlled by all sides in the conflict.

In June, a car bomb in Azaz, a town near Afrin also controlled by Turkey-backed rebels, killed at least 10 people when it struck in a busy marketplace on a Ramadan night.

Reporting by Angus McDowall; Editing by Alison Williams and Peter Graff

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