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Children among civilians killed in car bomb targeting Turkish-held northern Syria town

Turkey launched an offensive in Syria last month [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 23 November, 2019

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Two children were among 9 people killed when a car bomb detonated in Syria's Tal Abyad, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.
A car bomb killed nine people including four civilians in a Turkish-held border town in northern Syria on Saturday, a Britain-based war monitor said.

Two children were among those killed in Tal Abyad, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing.

The area has been shaken by repeated such bombings since Turkish troops and their Syrian proxies seized a strip of border land including Tal Abyad from Kurdish forces in a cross-border operation last month. 

The Turkish invasion against Kurdish-controlled areas saw Ankara's fighters seize a strip of land roughly 120 kilometres long and 30 kilometres deep on the Syrian side of the border.

The operation launched on October 9 displaced tens of thousands and left dozens of civilians dead, and forced Kurdish forces to retreat from some key towns.

 

On November 10, Turkey blamed Kurdish fighters for another bombing that took the lives of eight people in the village of Suluk southeast of Tal Abyad.

A week earlier, another car bomb killed 13 people in Tal Abyad, according to the Observatory.

Syria's Kurds have been a key ally of the US in fighting the Islamic State jihadist group in Syria, but Turkey sees them as "terrorists" linked to a Kurdish insurgency at home.

Kurdish-led Syrian forces expelled IS from its last patch of land in March, but the jihadists have continued to claim deadly attacks.

Meanwhile, dozens of Syrian refugees were returned from Turkey on Friday in the first reported repatriations to the area targeted by Ankara's offensive against Kurdish forces last month, state news agency Anadolu said.

Around 70 Syrians, including women and children, crossed from Ceylanpinar in Turkey to Ras Al-Ayn in Syria, Anadolu reported.

Muazzin al Mohammed, one of the refugees, said he had been living in Turkey for seven years, adding: "We are happy to return to our homeland. I was 11 years old when I left Ras Al-Ayn."

Read more: Some Syrians are fleeing Turkey’s offensive, others are returning home

Turkey's defence ministry said on Thursday that around 200 people had returned to the Syrian town of Tal Abyad from another part of northern Syria now that Kurdish militants had been cleared.

But analysts have cast doubt on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's claims that Turkey can repatriate up to two million Syrians to a "safe zone" being created in the north of the country.

Turkey is home to some 3.6 million Syrian refugees, more than any other country.

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