At least 46 civilians were killed, including 11 children, when an explosive-rigged fuel truck detonated in the northern Syrian town of Afrin, which was seized by Turkish forces more than two years ago, Al Jazeera reported.
Another 50 people were wounded in the explosion in a crowded street of Afrin. Turkey’s defense ministry blamed the attack on a Syrian-Kurdish militia.
Tuesday’s blast was one of the deadliest to hit a region under the control of Turkish-backed forces. Ankara frequently blames Kurdish militants for the attacks, while the militia says it does not target civilians.
Rami Abdul Rahman, head of the UK-based the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitor with a network of sources inside Syria, said “at least 46” people had been killed and 50 wounded, some critically, adding that the death toll could rise.
At least six pro-Turkish Syrian fighters were among the dead, he added.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Turkey blamed the attack on the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Ankara accuses the YPG of being the Syrian offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged an armed rebellion against Turkey since 1984. The PKK is considered a terrorist group by Ankara and many Western nations.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces Council on Wednesday accused Turkey of allowing terrorist organizations to regroup and launch such attacks, a reference to the armed group, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Syrian Kurds have played a major role in fighting ISIL in Syria.