HASAKA, Syrian Kurdistan (Kurdistan 24) – An Islamic State (IS) triple car bomb attack on Thursday killed at least fifty civilians and injured dozens who were fleeing Syrian regime and IS areas in Deir al-Zor province, a Kurdish medical source said.
The attack took place in Malha village in the southern countryside of Hasaka where a large group of about fifty thousand civilians who fled from the IS stronghold of Mayadeen were waiting to enter a refugee camp nearby, a source in the Kurdish Red Crescent told Kurdistan 24.
The death toll is expected to increase as dozens of the injured are in critical situations.
The injured were transferred to the public and private hospitals and clinics in the cities of Hasaka and Qamishlo in the country’s northeast.
The dead included Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Deir al-Zor and Mayadeen and members of the Kurdish security forces (Asayish) in addition to a Syrian Kurdish journalist Dilshan Ibish, a correspondent for the Syrian-based Kurdish Hawar news agency (ANHA).
Two other Syrian Kurdish journalists Rizgar Deniz and Hoger Mohamad were heavily wounded in the attack while covering the offensive launched by the Kurdish-led, US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on the northern and eastern countryside of Deir al-Zor province, ANHA reported.
The SDF, of which the Kurdish YPG is a leading component, launched an offensive, dubbed Jazira Storm, on Deir al-Zor province last month and so far has seized most areas of northern Euphrates River from IS.
Syrian government forces, supported by Russian airstrikes and Iran-backed militias, are converging on IS in separate offensives in the areas of southern Euphrates River around Deir al-Zor.
Last week, the Syrian government forces had reached Mayadeen town, an IS stronghold east to Der al-Zor, and taken positions parallel with a key road to the border with Iraq.
Since the beginning of the offensive, thousands of civilians have fled the Syrian regime and IS areas and resort to the Kurdish-held areas (known as Rojava) in the country’s northeast.
Officials in the Kurdish administration of Rojava told Kurdistan 24 in earlier interviews that humanitarian organizations had failed to support the influx of IDPs, leaving a heavy burden on the authorities.
In an online statement on Friday, the SDF said IS has been targeting civilians to create obstacles.
“Displaced civilians of Deir al-Zor and Raqqa are being targeted by the Daesh terrorists [IS] in our liberated areas because they are the safest areas in the country, and the terrorists are planning to disturb this stability,” the SDF statement said.
The Kurdish authorities receive the civilians fleeing Deir al-Zor and Raqqa provinces and transfer them to the camps of Ain Issa north of Raqqa and Qana camp south of Hasaka.
Editing by Ava Homa
(Additional reporting by Kurdistan 24 correspondent Ekrem Saleh)