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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 September 2018

Car bomb in rebel-held Idlib kills 23

Explosion took place on one of the central avenues of the city

At least 23 people have been killed in a car bomb blast in the country's largest rebel-held city of Idlib, according to Syrian activists and a war-monitoring group.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says a car bomb detonated on Sunday evening in Idlib, the capital of the province with the same name.

Photos and video from the activist-run Thiqa News Agency and Baladi News Agency show heavy damage along what appears to be a major avenue in the city, with several buildings damaged and vehicles overturned.

First responders, ambulances, fire brigades are seen arriving at the scene.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing. The city-province are controlled by several rebel factions and insurgents vying for dominance, the most powerful being an Al Qaeda-linked group.

Idlib province is a stronghold of rebels in Syria and is situated on the border with Turkey, one of the main backers of rebellion against president Bashar Al Assad.

The Syrian army and its allies launched an offensive in October to recapture the provinces of Idlib and Hama, and it has since been making swift advances.

The main rebel force in Idlib is Tahrir Al Sham, a splinter group of militant organisations and individuals, and also still known by its previous name Al Nusra Front.

The Syrian army lost Idlib to insurgents when the provincial capital fell in 2015. It became the only province fully under opposition control.

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