Syrian rebels blame Kurdish YPG for bombings in Turkish-controlled city that wounded women and children
AFRIN, Syria - Twin bombings killed at least nine people and wounded several others in northern Syria’s Afrin on Wednesday, in an attack targeting Turkey-backed rebels.
The first attack, a car bomb at the central Kawa roundabout, exploded near a checkpoint manned by Free Syrian Army rebels.
The second exploded near the Deir Sam Hospital in the city’s west.
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based activist group, said the second bombing was caused by a booby-trapped motorcycle.
Rami Abdel Rahman, the Observatory’s director, told the AFP news agency it was close to a Turkish military position.
The scene of a car bomb in Syria's Afrin. (MEE/Harun al-Aswad)
A commander in the Shami Front, a rebel group fighting under the FSA banner, told Middle East Eye the bombings were a wakeup call for rebel and Turkish forces in the city.
“We say to the Free Army and the Free Police and to our Turkish brothers that we must reconsider the security aspects of Afrin city,” the commander, Abu Suleiman, said.
'The Kurdish People’s Protection Units [YPG] are responsible for this criminal act'
- FSA commander
“The Kurdish People’s Protection Units [YPG] are responsible for this criminal act,” he added.
“This work was carried out by the terrorist party’s cells located in Afrin city.”
The commander said 10 people had been killed in the attacks. Fourteen children and 10 women are said to have been wounded.
According to the Observatory, five civilians and four rebel fighters were killed by the blasts.
The FSA, backed by the Turkish military, took Afrin from the YPG in March after a two-month operation which saw 150,000 people flee the city.
The YPG, which Turkey considers the Syrian arm of a Kurdish group waging an insurgency inside Turkish territory, pledged retribution after losing the city.
The bombings caused widespread damage to public and private property, and shocked residents who have experienced a certain level of quietude since the city fell into FSA hands.
'I saw bodies burning, cars explode and members of the Free Army killed. Most shops have been damaged'
- Shayyar Saeid, Afrin resident
“We heard the sound of a huge explosion went out to see what happened,” Afrin resident Shayyar Saeid told MEE.
“I saw bodies burning, cars explode and members of the Free Army killed. Most shops have been damaged.”
Rescue workers gathered at the blast sites to extinguish the fires and aid the wounded.
More casualties are expected to be recorded as the rescue workers assess the damage.