Suicide attack kills 18 in eastern Syria as Turkey rolls in

Suicide attack kills 18 in eastern Syria as Turkey rolls in

BANGKOK POST:

A handout photo made available by Turkish General Staff Press Office shows Turkish military vehicles as they arrive in the task area in Idlib, Syria, on Friday. (EPA photo)

Syrian activists say a suicide truck bombing by the Islamic State group has killed at least 18 people.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says those killed in the attack late Thursday included civilians displaced by fighting in eastern Syria as well as Kurdish forces. The attack took place in Abu Fas, in the northeastern Hassakeh province. An activist-run group in Hassakeh reported a much higher toll, saying the attack included three suicide car bombings.

The civilians were fleeing the fighting in the adjacent Deir el-Zour province, where Syrian troops and US-backed Kurdish-led forces are waging separate offensives against the IS group in one of its last remaining strongholds.

There was no immediate claim for the attack.

Earlier, the Syria monitoring group and a rebel fighter said Turkish armoured vehicles have rolled into northwestern Syria to implement a de-escalation agreement in a province dominated by al-Qaida-linked militants.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the deployment of nearly 16 armoured vehicles, five tanks and a military force late Thursday came days after Turkey sent reconnaissance missions to the area.

A rebel fighter said the troops deployed near a border crossing into the Idlib province, between a Kurdish-held area and an area held by Syrian rebels. The fighter spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorised to talk to the press. There was no immediate comment from the Turkish military.

Last week, Turkey announced an operation with Turkey-backed Syrian opposition forces in Idlib.

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