At least 23 were killed in Syria’s northwestern city of Idlib where an explosion occurred targeting the headquarters of a minor rebel faction. Many were injured, around 20 being in critical condition. The incident came hours after the Syrian military announced it had recaptured a strategically important town in eastern Idlib.
The blast ignited fires and overturned several cars along a wide avenue in the city. The strong explosion also badly damaged nearby buildings. "A large explosion on Sunday evening hit the base of the Ajnad al-Qawqaz faction in Idlib," said Syrian Observatory for Human Rights head Rami Abdel Rahman.
Explosion in Syria
There were conflicting accounts, attributing the explosion that shook the Thalatheen district of the city to either a car bomb or a drone attack. The majority of the deaths were fighters from the rebel group, in addition to seven civilians, Some others were unaccounted for. The Ajnad al-Qawqaz group includes hundreds of Caucasian fighters and is battling alongside the Fateh al-Sham Front, a former Al-Qaeda affiliate, to repel a Syrian regime advance in the southeast of Idlib province The Syrian army and its allies launched an offensive in October to recapture the provinces of Idlib and Hama. The Syrian army lost Idlib to insurgents when the provincial capital fell in 2015. The main rebel force in Idlib is Tahrir al-Sham, spearheaded by the former al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria previously called Nusra Front.