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Syria: Arms depot explosion kills 39, injures scores in Idlib

13th Aug 2018
Syria: Arms depot explosion kills 39, injures scores in Idlib

By Esref Musa

 

IDLIB, Syria (AA): At least 39 people, including 12 children, were killed when an arms depot exploded in a residential building, in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province on Sunday, according to the White Helmets civil defense agency.

The blast took place in Sarmada district, where rebels and civilians displaced from the northern Homs province live, White Helmets director in Idlib Mustafa Haj Youssef told Anadolu Agency.

He said some 45 civilians have also been injured in the explosion, which destroyed two 6-storey buildings inhabited by displaced civilians.

It is thought the munitions depot, which caused the explosion, may have been created within a five-storey residential building by the rebels.

According to Haj, 13 civilians have been rescued from under the debris of destroyed buildings.

Idlib is the last major rebel stronghold. The main rebel force in Idlib is Tahrir al-Sham, spearheaded by the former al-Qaida affiliate in Syria previously called Nusra Front.

The group was formed on 28 January 2017 as a merger between Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly al-Nusra Front), the Ansar al-Din Front, Jaysh al-Sunna, Liwa al-Haqq, and the Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement.

Located in northwestern Syria near the Turkish border, Idlib was designated a “de-escalation zone” in May where acts of aggression are expressly forbidden.

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on protesters with unexpected ferocity.

UN officials estimates that hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict.

*Ali Murat Alhas contributed to this story from Ankara

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Photo:  Syrian civil defense members conduct search and rescue operations at wreckage of two 5-storey buildings after a munition blast in residential building in Idlib, Syria on August 12, 2018. Photographer: Alaa Fetravi/AA]

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