At least eight civilians have been killed and dozens more injured after an explosives-laden vehicle exploded at a marketplace in Syria’s northern province of Aleppo.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the explosion struck al-Hal market in the city of Afrin, situated 43 kilometers north of the provincial capital city of Aleppo, on Sunday afternoon.
The Britain-based monitor group added that security forces have sealed off the attack scene, members of the so-called White Helmets are rushing to the area to provide help to the victims
The death toll is expected to rise as some of the injured are in a critical condition.
No militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far.
Afrin was captured in March this year from the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) by Turkish armed forces and Ankara-backed Free Syrian Army militants.
The explosion came as Turkey said that there would be a campaign against “terrorists” in the eastern Euphrates region.
“It is time to realize our decision to wipe out terror groups in the east of Euphrates,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday.
“We will start the operation to clear the east of the Euphrates from separatist terrorists in a few days,” Erdogan added.
The commander-in-chief of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said on Thursday that his fellow fighters would respond strongly to any Turkish attack, but noted that the US-supported Kurdish-led forces were pressing diplomatic efforts to deter an assault.
Mazloum Kobani told Reuters that Washington had made “serious attempts” to prevent a Turkish offensive, but the US should ramp up its efforts further.
Kobani warned that a Turkish assault would tie up militants from the People's Protection Units (YPG), who are purportedly fighting Daesh remnants in eastern Syria, which would allow the Takfiris to spread again.
“We are ready for any attack and will respond strongly ... within our areas. “Till now, our diplomatic attempts are ongoing to deter this,” he said.
Kobani said Turkey had been mobilizing militants from the so-called Free Syrian Army at fronts bordering the region, where SDF forces control areas in northern Syria.
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