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14 killed in car bomb blast in Syria’s Azaz town

At least 14 people were killed and dozen others injured in a car bomb blast in the Syrian town of Azaz.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said that the blast occurred on late Sunday night.

It added that the victims include four children. The explosion took place near a mosque.

“Many people were leaving evening prayers when the explosion happened,” SOHR head Rami Abdul Rahman told news agency AFP.

The blast occurred after the “iftar” meal that breaks a daylong fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The attack came a few days before Muslims celebrate the end of the holy month with Eid el-Fitr, one of Islam’s most important feasts.

It was not clear who was behind the attack. Azaz has been hit by similar attacks in the past. The town is held by Turkish-backed Syrian rebels, who control a strip of territory along the frontier between the countries.

Azaz adjoins the enclave in northwest Syria that is the only major territory still held by groups fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad. The area has been the target of a government offensive since late April.

The rebels’ enclave is dominated by the jihadist Tahrir al-Sham group, the latest iteration of the former al-Qaida affiliate, the Nusra Front.

Turkey launched Operation Euphrates Shield in 2016 and seized more than 2,000 square kilometers (772 square miles) in northern Syria, including Azaz, clearing the area of jihadists affiliated with the “Islamic State,” (IS) while preventing any Kurdish advance in the region.

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