Monday, 12 November, 2018

Northern Syria explosion kills at least 36 but cause remains unclear

Erdogan Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses his supporters in Bayburt Turkey
Ellis Copeland | 13 August, 2018, 23:56

At least 39 people - including 12 children - have been killed in a blast that brought down a building in Syria's mainly rebel-held north-western province of Idlib, reports say.

Hatem Abu Marwan, a member of the Idlib civil defence team, said that "buildings full of civilians were reduced to rubble", the news agency said.

Syrian civilians, displaced during the country's seven-year long war, were living in the building which was also used by an arms dealer, the Observatory said.

SOHR said the weapons depot was housed in a residential building in the northwestern town of Sarmada, in Idlib province.

The Observatory said it was not clear if the Syrian regime or its Russian backers were responsible for the bombardment of Aleppo, but blamed the allies for pounding Idlib.

The group said the cause of the blast was unknown.

Idlib is the last major rebel-held area, and is expected to be the next target for Syrian armed forces.

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Bashar al-Assad has warned that regime forces intend to retake Idlib, after his regime regained control of swathes of opposition held territory elsewhere.

The Observatory said regime reinforcements, including troops and equipment, had been amassing around the southwestern part of Idlib for several days.

Around 2.5 million people live in the province, half of them displaced by fighting in other regions of the country.

The explosion also killed 17 members of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a militant-led alliance, according to the Britain-based monitor, which relies on a network of sources inside Syria.

Rival factions control most of the rest, but Syrian troops have carved out a small southeastern part.

The United Nations appealed the same day for talks to avert "a civilian bloodbath" in the province.

More than 350,000 people have been killed and millions displaced since Syria's civil war started in 2011 with the suppression of anti-government protests.

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