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Massive car bomb explosion kills nine in Turkish-held northeastern Syrian village

This picture shows the aftermath of a car bomb explosion at a checkpoint manned by Turkish-backed Takfiri militants near the strategic border city of Ra’s al-Ayn, northeastern Syria, on July 30, 2020. (Photo via Twitter)

At least nine people have been killed when a massive car bomb explosion struck a checkpoint manned by Turkish-backed Takfiri militants in Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakah.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the attack took place on Thursday evening in Tal Halaf village, which lies west of the strategic border city of Ra’s al-Ayn, and targeted members of the Hamza Division terrorist group and the so-called civil police at Tal Arqam checkpoint.

The Britain-based war monitor added that 15 people were also wounded in the bomb attack.

The Observatory added that one of the bodies had been charred beyond recognition, and that the death toll might further rise as some of the injured are in critical condition.

The attack comes two days after an explosive-rigged motorbike in Ra’s al-Ayn killed two civilians and a militant.

Another explosion on Sunday also claimed the lives of eight people, including women and children, in the same Syrian city.

Syria’s official news agency SANA reported that the attack took place near a marketplace.

The Turkish Defense Ministry blamed militants from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) for the explosion in a post published on its official Twitter page.

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.

Back in October 2019, 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.

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