At least 43 dead in Syrian car bomb
The death toll in the car bomb attack on a busy market in a Syrian rebel-held town along the Turkish border on Saturday has risen to 43, activists and rescue workers said.
The explosion ripped through the central market in the town of Azaz in the northern province of Aleppo, damaging a government building and local court house.
Rami Abdurrahman, the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group, said those killed included six opposition fighters. He said the explosion was caused by a rigged water or fuel tanker, which explains the large blast and high death toll.
Other activist groups, including the Azaz Media center, put the death toll at 50, adding that search and rescue operations continued for at least two hours after the explosion.
The Observatory said the explosion took place near the local court house operated by rebel groups.
Media activist Baha al-Halabi, based in Aleppo province and who gathered information from people in Azaz, said witnesses said there were many unidentified bodies because of the strength of the explosion.
Images shared online showed a huge plume of black smoke rising above the market and sounds of gunfire echoing in the background as onlookers gathered around the site. Bodies were strewn on the ground as a father ran away from the scene hugging his child.
Many rebels and civilians who were pushed out of Aleppo city during a massive government offensive late last year resettled in Azaz.
To the west of Azaz, Syrian Kurdish forces have control of a swath of land, and they have often tried to advance toward the town, causing friction with Turkish troops and allied Syrian opposition fighters.
To the east, opposition fighters backed by Turkey have been pushing back Islamic State extremists, gaining territory and advancing on the IS-stronghold town of al-Bab, further east.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.