The deadly explosion of a fuel tanker in the city of Afrin in Northen Syria killed almost 40 people and is considered one of the deadliest attacks in any of the regions controlled by Turkish-backed forces. The death toll is still expected to rise as many of the 50 people who were injured are in a critical condition.
Turkish security officials have said that although nobody has claimed responsibility for the attacks, it is believed to have been carried out by Syrian Kurdish fighters linked to Kurdish militants fighting Turkey.
In 2018, Turkey and allied Syrian fighters took control of the region of Afrin in a military operation that expelled local Kurdish fighters and displaced thousands of Kurdish residents. Ankara, along with other Western nations, considers the Kurdish fighters who were in control of Afrin to be terrorists.
Since then, there has been a series of attacks on Turkish targets in the area.
Syrian activists said Tuesday’s blast in a crowded market burned several people to death and set several cars and shops on fire. Among the dead were around 11 children.
Similar blasts in areas controlled by Turkish-backed opposition fighters have killed scores of people in recent months. These are all attacks that Ankara blames on Kurdish fighters.
Turkey supports the Syrian opposition in the war against President Bashar Assad but has joined with Russia to secure and monitor local cease-fires.