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14 dead, 35 injured after rocket hits market in Syria’s Al-Bab

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14 dead, 35 injured after rocket hits market in Syria’s Al-Bab

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14 civilians have been killed and 35 injured as missiles hit a crowded market in the northern Syrian city of al-Bab on Friday, medical sources and The New Arab’s affiliate Syria TV have reported.

The strikes targeted the city – held by Turkish-backed opposition fighters – from sites jointly controlled by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Assad regimeSyria TV reported.

The toll reported by Syria TV comes after initial reports from The Syrian Civil Defence, known as the White Helmets that nine civilians were killed.

Tensions have increased across northern Syria, as Turkey and its allied Syrian forces continued shelling Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria, killing dozens of regime and SDF fighters.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights blamed Assad regime forces for the shelling of Al-Bab, saying it came in retaliation for Turkish strikes.

The SDF on Thursday said that they had launched several strikes targeting Turkish forces, claiming to have killed seven soldiers.

Ankara has threatened for months to launch a large-scale operation in northern Syria to root out what it calls “terrorist” Kurdish forces and create a buffer zone along the Syrian-Turkish border.

Turkey considers Syrian Kurdish groups to be front organisations for the PKK, which has led an armed insurgency against the Turkish state in Kurdish-majority areas of Turkey since the 1980s.

Although the fighting has waned over the past few years, shelling and airstrikes are not uncommon in northern Syria.

Syria’s conflict that began in March 2011, has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced half the country’s pre-war population of 23 million.

President Bashar Assad’s forces now control most parts of Syria with the help of their allies, Russia and Iran.

Source: The New Arab

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