ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Five civilians were killed and 13 more were injured on Sunday as a car bomb, or vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED), was detonated in a town near the Turkish border outside the cities of Ain Issa and Tal Abyad.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) announced that “the Turkish backed militias targeted the car based on Intel that it allegedly [carried] explosives.”
“Due to the explosion, five civilians [were] confirmed dead, and more than 13 civilians were injured as the explosion took place in the outskirts of the north of Raqqah in the village of Suluk, which is under the control of Turkish backed proxies,” the SOHR statement continued.
Raqqa, the largest city in the vicinity, is the former capital of the Islamic State in Syria.
Turkey’s defense ministry blamed the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) for the bombing in its own announcement, stating that it “took place southeast of the Syrian town of Tel Abyad, which Turkey captured in a military offensive that began one month ago.”
Following an Oct. 6 conversation between US President Donald Trump and his Turkish counterpart, the White House announced it was withdrawing US troops from an area that Turkey intended to invade. Ankara began its attack three days later.
The Turkish government has long complained that the Kurdish YPG is an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), with which it has fought a decades-long conflict over Kurdish rights in Turkey. The US and EU, along with Turkey, consider the PKK a terrorist organization, but Washington sees the YPG as a distinct and separate entity.
Earlier on Sunday, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said that, so far, the number of Syrian refugees who had crossed into the Kurdistan Region as a result of being displaced by the Turkish invasion has surpassed 15,000 people.
The Turkish army currently occupies a large portion of northwestern Syria along its southern border, including the previously self-ruling town of Afrin, which it invaded last year in a bloody campaign that saw hundreds of civilians killed and some 160,000 people uprooted from their homes.
Editing by John J. Catherine