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17 killed by car bomb in Turkey-controlled region of Syria — Ankara

By AFP - Nov 26,2019 - Last updated at Nov 26,2019

This photo, taken on Tuesday, shows destroyed vehicles following a car bomb attack at a local market in the Turkish-held Syrian Kurdish town of Tall Halaf along the border with Turkey in the northeastern Hassakeh province (AFP photo)

ISTANBUL — A car bomb killed at least 17 people and wounded 20 others in the Turkish-controlled region of northern Syria on Tuesday, Turkey's defence ministry said.

The attack took place in the Tall Halaf village west of the city of Ras Ayn, which is now controlled by the Turkish military after its offensive in October, the ministry said on its official Twitter account.

It blamed the attack on the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara accuses of being the Syrian offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) that has waged an insurgency against Turkey since 1984.

“The PKK/YPG terror group continues its car bombings aimed at civilians. The child murderers this time detonated a car bomb in Tal Halaf village west of Ras Al  Ayn, killing 17 people and wounding more than 20,” the defence ministry said on Twitter.

Britain-based war monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the attack but gave a lower toll, saying 11 people — including at least three civilians — had been killed.

But it said the death toll is likely to climb due to the severity of some of the injuries suffered.

Turkish forces and their proxies — former Syrian rebels hired as a ground force by Ankara — launched an offensive against Kurdish forces in Syria on October 9.

The military action came after US President Donald Trump ordered his troops to withdraw in a move that observers condemned as a betrayal of their Kurdish partners in the war against the Daesh terror group in Syria.

In its operation, Turkey secured a strip of land in northern Syria after signing separate deals with the US and Russia.

Ankara says it wants to establish a “safe zone” in which to resettle some of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees it hosts on its soil.

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