You are here: Home » PTI Stories » National » News
Business Standard

Children among 39 civilians killed in Syria arms depot blast: monitor

AFP  |  Beirut 

An explosion at a weapons depot in a rebel-held town in killed at least 39 civilians including a dozen children today, a monitor said.

An at the site in Sarmada in province near the Turkish border said the explosion of unknown origin caused two buildings to collapse.

Rescue workers used a bulldozer to remove rubble and extract trapped people, the said.

Rami Abdel Rahman, of the for Human Rights monitor, said a previous toll of 12 civilians killed increased after more bodies were retrieved from the rubble.

"The explosion occurred in a weapons depot in a residential building in Sarmada," said the of the Britain-based monitor, which relies on a network of sources inside

But the cause of the blast was "not yet clear", added.

He said most of those killed were family members of fighters from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, an alliance led by jihadists from Syria's former affiliate, who had been displaced to the area from the central province of

A carried the motionless body of a small child from the wreckage to an ambulance, the said.

Behind mounds of rubble, the facade of a building was scorched black, due to a fire after the blast.

A civil defence source told AFP that women and children were among the dead.

But rescue workers had pulled out "five people who were still alive", the source said.

Most of is controlled by rebels and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, but the Islamic State group also has sleeper cells in the area.

The regime holds a small slither of southeastern

In recent months, a series of explosions and assassinations -- mainly targeting rebel officials and fighters -- have rocked the province.

While some attacks have been claimed by IS, most are the result of infighting since last year between other groups.

In recent days, regime forces have ramped up their deadly bombardment of southern Idlib and sent reinforcements to nearby areas they control.

has warned that government forces intend to retake Idlib, after his Russia-backed regime regained control of swathes of rebel-held territory elsewhere.

Around 2.5 million people live in the province, half of them displaced by fighting in other parts of the country.

More than 350,000 people have been killed and millions displaced since Syria's civil started in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, August 12 2018. 21:30 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU