Several killed as bomb blast hits Afrin in northern Syria

Turkish defence ministry says five people killed and more than 20 wounded in attack at an industrial site at the centre of town.

The attack reportedly took place in an industrial site in Afrin [Turkish Defence Ministry/Twitter]

At least five people have been killed and more than 20 wounded when a car bomb detonated in the northern Syrian town of Afrin, according to the Turkish defence ministry.

The ministry said in a statement the explosion took place on Saturday in an industrial site at the centre of the town and wounded 22 people.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency said the death toll was six, citing local sources in the region, adding that at least 25 people have been wounded.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the Turkish defence ministry blamed the attack on Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighters.

Ankara regards the YPG as a “terrorist” group tied to the outlawed armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) group inside its own borders, and has staged multiple incursions into Syria in collaboration with Syrian rebels it backs to push YPG and ISIL (ISIS) fighters from the Turkish frontier.

Afrin was largely cleared of YPG fighters in 2018 through a military operation by Turkey, but the town and other parts of the region are regularly rocked by such bombings.

Ankara now retains a large military presence in the area, deploying thousands of troops in the last rebel enclave in Syria.

The PKK, designated a “terrorist” group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984. More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict, focused in southeast Turkey.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies