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Car bomb blast in militant-held Syrian town kills 11 civilians

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
GRAPHIC CONTENT This file photo taken on January 20, 2014 shows the scene of a double suicide car bombing at the Bab al-Hawa border post between Syria and Turkey which killed at least 16 people and wounded 20 more. (Photo by AFP)

A car bomb has struck the Al-Rai town near the Turkish border in northern Syria, killing at least 11 civilians in the militant-held region, an observatory group said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing near the town's entrance, the second such deadly blast in the wider militant-held area since June.        

AFP quoted Osama Abu al-Kheir, an anti-government militant, as saying that a refrigerator truck blew up outside a healthcare center, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Sunday.

Turkish troops and allied Syrian militants launched a military operation against both the Takfiri terrorists and Kurdish fighters in northern Syria in 2016, seizing Al-Rai and the nearby town of Azaz.

In June, another car bomb killed 19 people near a bustling market and mosque in Azaz.

The car bomb comes as Ankara and Washington last month said they would work together to set up a buffer area inside northeastern Syria along the Turkish border after Kurdish fighters had withdrawn.

A first joint Turkish-US patrol surveyed the area to the east of the Euphrates River last week.

The Sunday bomb attack came one day before a trilateral summit on Syria between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Vladimir Putin of Russia and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, where they are going to discuss a political resolution to the Syria crisis.

The three leaders will discuss the latest developments in Syria, particularly the issue of Idlib province in the north of the Arab country, during the trilateral summit, both Erdogan and a senior Kremlin aide announced on Friday.

Erdogan said that he would discuss recent developments in Idlib at the trilateral summit with the Russian and Iranian leaders.Ankara and Moscow agreed last September to turn Idlib and parts of Hama province into a de-escalation zone where acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

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