Sat, Oct 15, 2016 - Page 5 News List

Bomb at Syrian border crossing kills at least 20

Reuters, AMMAN

At least 20 people, mostly Syrian rebel fighters, were killed after a car bomb exploded on Thursday near a checkpoint close to the Bab al-Salama crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border, two witnesses said.

They said the blast took place near a checkpoint manned by members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) close to a car depot nearly 2km from the border crossing, a major conduit for traffic between opposition held northern Syria and Turkey.

Rescue workers rushed dozens of injured to the nearby Azaz hospital, one witness said, adding that mosques were appealing for people to donate blood.

Among at least 25 injured, eight were in critical condition and taken to Turkish hospitals across the border.

“It was hell, with many bodies torn and mangled with metal parts from smashed and charred cars,” mechanic Abdullah al-Sheikh said.

The Bab al-Salama crossing is close to the city of Azaz, a major stronghold of Turkish-backed and Western-vetted moderate FSA fighters involved in a major operation along another stretch of border further to the northeast against the Islamic State group.

Several FSA factions cordoned off the area after word spread there could be another blast.

The attack comes a week after an Islamic State militant blew himself up at the Atmeh border crossing between Syria’s opposition areas in the province of Idlib.

That blast killed at least 25 people and targeted mainly Turkish-backed FSA rebels fighting alongside other factions in Ankara’s offensive, dubbed “Euphrates Shield,” to push out the Islamic State group.

The Islamic State is fighting against all sides in Syria, including the government, foreign-backed rebels and other US-backed fighters.

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