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Syria clashes over al-Bab car-bomb suspect leave one person dead

Hundreds of angry residents protest outside police headquarters to demand bombing suspect be executed in al-Bab
Protesters hurl stones amid clashes with pro-Turkish forces in Syrian town of al-Bab on Sunday (AFP)

A civilian was killed in clashes on Sunday between protesters and police in al-Bab, a town controlled by pro-Ankara forces in northern Syria, a war monitor said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the fatality occurred as people clamoured to reach a man arrested on suspicion of involvement in a deadly attack that took place the previous day, AFP reported.

On Saturday, a car bomb killed 19 people when it struck a bus and taxi station in al-Bab, about 30 kilometres northeast of Aleppo, the Observatory reported. The attack also wounded 33 people, some of them seriously. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing, though Turkey quickly placed the blame on Kurdish fighters.

"Local police arrested a suspect... after checking surveillance cameras at the site, and took him to their headquarters with the intention of handing him over to the Turkish army," Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

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Citing local sources, Abdel Rahman said the suspect was not linked to Kurdish forces but was from a village close to al-Bab.

He said that the suspect had been a member of the Islamic State (IS) group when it controlled the region and that he had later joined a pro-Ankara group.

Hundreds of angry residents protested outside police headquarters to demand that the suspect be executed in al-Bab, with some demonstrators attempting to force their way in.

Police fired into the air to disperse the crowd, killing one person and wounding another, the Observatory said.

An AFP photographer said some people threw stones at the headquarters, which is protected by concrete blocks, and that a nearby military vehicle was set ablaze.

Still, Turkey on Saturday had blamed the attack on the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) against whom it launched an invasion farther east last month.

Reuters reported that on Sunday, Turkish authorities said they had captured a Syrian Kurdish YPG fighter suspected of the al-Bab car-bomb attack.

"The perpetrator of the attack was caught after a successful operation by the National Intelligence Organisation," Turkey's defence ministry said on Twitter.

The Observatory said there had been persistent security incidents in al-Bab since its capture by Turkish troops from IS in February 2017.

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