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Blast rocks Syria area hosting Iran-backed fighters

Several people were reported killed and wounded, including Iranian officers
Member of Syrian forces looks out over southern Aleppo province earlier this year (AFP/file photo)

An explosion rocked an area in northern Syria on Saturday near a base where pro-government Iranian fighters and allied Shia militias have been stationed, a monitor said.

Several people were reported wounded and killed, including Iranian officers, according to Ynetnews website.

The origin of the blast was not immediately clear and may have been caused by an air strike or an incident at an ammunition depot, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

"A powerful explosion went off late Saturday in an area of southern Aleppo province," the Britain-based monitoring group said.

The war monitor's head, Rami Abdel Rahman, said the area was known to host Iranian forces deployed in Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad's government as well as allied Afghan fighters from the Fatemiyoun Brigade.

Hezbollah-affiliated media outlets said the reports referred to a controlled explosion, Haaretz reported, adding that the blast may have taken place at a weapons depot.

Western powers carried out their biggest attack on Assad's government before dawn on Saturday with strikes on targets they said were linked to Syria's chemical weapons programme.

The Pentagon subsequently said no further strikes were planned as part of an operation launched a week after a suspected chemical attack on the holdout rebel town of Douma killed dozens of people.

Israel, which was not involved in Saturday's unprecedented wave of missile strikes but expressed full support, has unilaterally launched air raids on targets inside Syria on several occasions.

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