Car bomb explosion in northern Syrian town of Afrin kills 6

A car bomb explosion in the northern Syrian town of Afrin killed at least five people and wounded more than 20, Turkish defence ministry said.

The ministry said in a statement the explosion took place on Saturday in an industrial site at the centre of the town.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency said the death toll was six, citing local sources in the region, adding that at least 25 people have been wounded.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the Turkish defence ministry blamed the attack on Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighters.

Turkey regards the YPG as a “terrorist” group tied to the outlawed armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) group inside its own borders, and has staged multiple incursions into Syria in collaboration with Syrian rebels it backs to push YPG and ISIL (ISIS) fighters from the Turkish frontier.

Afrin was largely cleared of YPG fighters in 2018 through a military operation by Turkey, but the town and other parts of the region are regularly rocked by such bombings.

Turkey retains a large military presence in the area, deploying thousands of troops in the last rebel enclave in Syria.

The PKK, designated a “terrorist” group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984. More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict, focused in southeast Turkey.