Report: Car bomb in north Syria kills, wounds several people

BEIRUT (AP) — A car bomb exploded at checkpoint manned by Turkey-backed Syrian opposition fighters on Thursday in northeastern Syria, killing and wounding several people, Turkish state media and an opposition war monitoring group reported.

According to Turkey’s Anadolu Agency, the bombing in the village of Tal Halaf killed five people and wounded 12.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks the civil war in Syria through a network of activists on the ground, said six people were killed and 15 were wounded in the blast. It said the casualties included Turkey-backed Syrian opposition fighters.

Different casualty figures are common in the immediate aftermath of such attacks.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack but Turkey has blamed such deadly explosions in the area in recent months on Kurdish fighters linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which has waged a decades-long insurgency inside Turkey.

Ankara views Syrian Kurdish fighters associated with PKK — and the group itself as terrorists — even though the same fighters had partnered with the U.S. in the war against the Islamic State group.

After a series of military incursions, Turkey now controls most of Syria’s territory that borders its southern frontier. Last October, Turkish troops crossed into Syria’s northeast, capturing the Ras al-Ayn area and driving Syrian Kurdish fighters away from the border after the U.S. withdrew most of its forces from the region.

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