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Bomb blast kills 40 people in Syria's Afrin

At least 46 civilians were killed including 11 children in a bomb attack in the Syrian city of Afrin

At least 40 civilians were killed, including 11 children, when a bomb detonated on an oil tanker in the northern Syrian town of Afrin on Tuesday, the Turkish Defence Ministry said, blaming the attack on the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia.

In a statement on Twitter, the ministry said the blast occurred in a crowded area in Afrin’s centre. A video shared by the ministry showed black smoke billowing in the air while ambulance and police sirens wailed in the background.

Ankara views the YPG as a terrorist group linked to Kurdish militants on its own soil and has mounted military operations in northern Syria to push it back from the border.

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Turkey’s military and its Syrian rebel allies seized Afrin, a mainly Kurdish district, from the YPG in March 2018 in a major offensive.

Tuesday’s blast was one of the deadliest to hit a region under the control of Turkish-backed forces. Ankara frequently blames the YPG for the attacks, while the militia says it does not target civilians.

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