Islamic State car bomb kills more than 50 in northwest Syria

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An Islamic State car bomb killed over 50 people on Friday in a Syrian village held by rebels, a day after jihadist group was driven from its stronghold within the area, a war monitor said.

The blast which occurred in the village of Sousian, hit a security checkpoint controlled by rebels fighting under the Free Syrian Army (FSA) banner.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitor of the war based in Britain, said more than 50 people died including over 30 civilians. Two rebels contacted by Reuters put the total death toll at least 40.

One of the two, a fighter with the Sultan Murad Brigade near al-Bab, said: “it was done on a checkpoint, there were a lot of families there gathered and waiting to get back to al-Bab’’. “Therefore, we have many civilian casualties.”

The Turkey-backed rebels drove Islamic State from the town of al-Bab on Thursday, following weeks of street battles near where Ankara wants to establish a safe zone for civilians.

Turkey’s military said that Syrian rebels had taken full control of all of al-Bab, and that work to clear mines and unexploded ordnance was under way.

Sousian is behind rebel lines about 8 km northwest of al-Bab, around which Ankara has long supported the formation of a security zone it says would help to stem a wave of migration via Turkey into Europe.

A second blast took place 2km south of Sousian later, but it was unclear whether it was from a vehicle bomb or a planted device such as a mine.

There were reports of casualties, but no immediate details, the Observatory said.

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