The UK based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said more than 50 people died, including over 30 civilians. The attack happened only a day after Turkish-backed rebels managed to drive ISIS from the town of al-Bab, their last stronghold in the region.
A car blast in the village of Sousian targeted a security checkpoint under the control of Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters.
“It was done on a checkpoint but there were a lot of families there gathered and waiting to get back to al-Bab. Therefore we have many civilian casualties.” Said one of FSA fighters near al-Bab.
Turkish security forces, Syrian rebel forces and other local militias have been fighting to expel ISIS from their outposts in Northwestern Syria. Turkish military official said that the Syrian rebels have taken full control of al-Bab.
“With al-Bab under control, the planned targets … have been achieved. In the aftermath, support will be provided to normalize life and for the local people to quickly return to their homes.” Turkish military chief of staff, Hulusi Akar, said.
Islamic State confirmed that it had lost control of al-Bab and said in a social media posting it was behind the Sousian attack. ISIS militants, who are fighting in Syria and Iraq, have suffered significant setbacks, as Russia-backed Assad regime has launched an offensive to reclaim territory in Western and Northwestern Syria. At the same time, Iraqi authorities are trying to regain control of Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, which has been under ISIS control since 2014.
In the Northeastern corner of Syria, Kurdish forces have also made significant gains in their fight against ISIS. The Kurds, backed by the US, have taken dozens of villages from Islamic State close to Raqqa, the group’s main remaining stronghold in Syria.
Image: Russia Today