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Bomb attack leaves five dead in Turkish-controlled northern Syrian town

At least five people, including three children, have lost their lives and several others sustained injuries when a car rigged with explosives went off in an area of Syria’s northeastern province of al-Hasakah, controlled by Turkish military forces and their allied militants ever since they launched a ground offensive against militants from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the attack took place on Thursday afternoon in Tal Halaf village, which lies west of the strategic border city of Ra’s al-Ayn.

On November 26, a car bomb killed at least 17 people and wounded 20 others in the same Syrian village.

Turkey’s Defense Ministry blamed the attack on the Kurdish YPG militants at the time.

“The PKK/YPG terror group continues its car bombings aimed at civilians. The child murderers this time detonated a car bomb in Tal Halaf village west of Ra’s al-Ayn, killing 17 people and wounding more than 20,” the ministry said on its official Twitter account then. 

On October 9, Turkish military forces and Ankara-backed militants launched a long-threatened cross-border invasion of northeastern Syria in a declared attempt to push YPG militants away from border areas.

Ankara views the US-backed YPG as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.

On October 22, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a memorandum of understanding that asserted YPG militants had to withdraw from the Turkish-controlled “safe zone” in northeastern Syria within 150 hours, after which Ankara and Moscow would run joint patrols around the area.

The announcement was made hours before a US-brokered five-day truce between Turkish and Kurdish-led forces was due to expire.