Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 23 September 2020

Blast in Syrian market town near Turkish border kills eight people

The bomb scorched market stalls and scattered produce in the town of Ras Al Ain

Mourners react during the funeral procession of Kurdish fighters who were killed during clashes in the north-eastern Syrian town of Ras Al Ain. Reuters
Mourners react during the funeral procession of Kurdish fighters who were killed during clashes in the north-eastern Syrian town of Ras Al Ain. Reuters

A bomb that exploded on Sunday morning in a vegetable market in a north Syrian border town controlled by Turkey-backed opposition fighters killed eight people and wounded 19 more, a war monitor and the state news agency reported.

The blast scorched market stalls and scattered produce in the town of Ras Al Ain, on the border with Turkey.

State news agency Sana said the blast was caused by a car bomb and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the explosion was caused by a motorcycle rigged with explosives.

The observatory said some of those wounded were in critical condition, saying a woman and a child were among the dead.

Turkey's Defence Ministry blamed the attack on Kurdish insurgents, as it has in dozens of other such incidents.

Ankara blamed explosions that killed or wounded dozens of people in north-east Syria in recent months on fighters linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, which has waged a decades-long insurgency inside Turkey.

It views the Kurdish fighters as terrorists, though the same fighters partnered with the US in the fight against ISIS.

Turkey controls most Syrian territory bordering its southern frontier after a series of military operations. Last October, Turkish troops crossed into north-east Syria, 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.

Such bombings are common in the town, which was held by Kurdish forces before Turkish troops and their Syria proxies seized it.

Despite the key role the YPG played in the US-led campaign to drive ISIS out of northern and eastern Syria, Ankara has launched repeated incursions against the group.

"The terror organisation PKK/YPG once more targeted innocent civilians," the ministry said on Twitter.

During its most recent incursion against the YPG last year, Ankara established a "safe zone" extending along 120 kilometres (70 miles) of the border and including the town of Ras Al Ain.

Updated: July 26, 2020 05:17 PM

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