Truck bomb kills at least 40 people in Syria’s Afrin
(Updates with government statements)
A bomb-laden oil tanker exploded in northern Syria's Kurdish-populated province of Afrin on Tuesday, killing at least 40 people.
The suspect who detonated the truck in the city centre, was later apprehended by the Afrin authorities, according to a statement by the governorate of Hatay, Turkey’s southernmost province.
The casualty tolls conflicted between the Hatay governorate's statement and a Turkish Defence Ministry statement on Twitter. The statement said three children were killed and 30 were wounded in the blast, while the Turkish Defence Ministry reported 11 children killed and 47 wounded.
Eli kanlı terör örgütü PKK/YPG’nin, Afrin’de masum sivillere yönelik düzenlediği bombalı araç saldırısında hayatını kaybedenlerin sayısı 11’i çocuk olmak üzere 40’a, yaralıların sayısı ise 47’ye yükseldi. pic.twitter.com/AIVwHQ2IzT— T.C. Millî Savunma Bakanlığı (@tcsavunma) April 28, 2020
The wounded are being treated at hospitals in Afrin and Hatay, the Hatay governorate said.
The Turkish government blamed the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and Syrian Kurdish militia the People's Protection Units, which Turkey says is a terrorist group linked to the PKK.
“Heinous terrorist organisation PKK/YPG slaughtered innocent civilians, including children even on this holy day of Ramadan. Wish Allah’s mercy upon the deceased. Those who support the terrorists and trying to take it off the terror list are also responsible for this cowardly attack,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu wrote on Twitter.
Hain terör örgütü PKK/YPG bu mübarek Ramazan gününde bile çoluk çocuk demeden masum sivilleri katletti. Hayatını kaybedenlere Allah’tan rahmet diliyorum.— Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (@MevlutCavusoglu) April 28, 2020
Terör örgütüne destek verenler ve onu terör listesinden çıkarmaya çalışanlar da bu alçak saldırıdan sorumludur.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu also condemned the attack, pointing the finger at the two Kurdish militias.
“The treacherous (PKK/YPG) terrorist organization will not get away with the attack carried out in Afrin on Mubarak Ramadan,” Soylu said on Twitter.
Mübarek Ramazan günü Afrin’de gerçekleştirilen bu saldırı, hain terör örgütünün yanına kalmayacaktır.— Süleyman Soylu (@suleymansoylu) April 28, 2020
Ölenlere Allah’tan rahmet, yaralılara acil şifalar diliyorum
After a two-month offensive against Kurdish militia, Turkish troops and the Free Syrian Army took control of Afrin on March 17, 2018. Turkish-controlled areas in northern Syria have been a frequent target of bomb attacks that claimed the lives of several Turkish-backed militia and civilians.