The death toll in an explosion that hit a Turkish-backed rebel town in northern Syria earlier this week has risen to 52, a war monitor said Wednesday.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the fatalities included 11 children and 12 rebel fighters.
On Tuesday, a booby-trapped fuel tanker exploded in the northern Syrian town of Afrin, which is controlled by Turkish troops and allied rebel groups.
The blast initially killed 46 people and injured at least 50 others. So far, there has been no claim of responsibility for the attack.
The mainly Kurdish enclave of Afrin was captured by the Turkish military and allied Syrian rebel fighters during an offensive in 2018.
Syrian Kurds blamed Turkey for creating the conditions that led to Tuesday’s blast.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Council on Wednesday accused Turkey of helping “terrorist organisations” to regroup so they can launch such attacks, a reference to Islamic State militants.
“We confirm that the Turkish occupation, relying on the factions that embrace terrorist thought, has opened the door wide open for the terrorist forces to organise their ranks and carry out cowardly acts under Turkish protection,” the council said in a statement.
Syrian Kurds have played a major role in fighting Islamic State in Syria.
“We in the council condemn and denounce this cowardly terrorist act that targeted innocent civilians and threatens the remaining sons of Afrin to move and leave their villages and cities,” it added.
The governor of the neighbouring Turkish province of Hatay said late Tuesday that the person who brought the truck was captured, but gave no details.
The SDF is mainly led by the People’s Protection Units, which Ankara considers to be linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, a designated terrorist group fighting an insurgency on Turkish soil. (dpa/NAN)