Car Bomb Kills More Than 40 at Syrian Border Crossing
BEIRUT, Lebanon — A car bomb killed at least 43 people on the Syrian side of the Bab al-Salam crossing on the border with Turkey on Thursday and wounded dozens more, an antigovernment group said. It appeared to be the latest instance of civilians bearing the brunt of clashes between Islamist groups in insurgent-held territory.
The group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is based in Britain and collects information through a network inside Syria, also said that more than 80 people had been wounded.
Mohammad Wissam of the antigovernment Aleppo Media Center said that the attack had been carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, a radical group aligned with Al Qaeda, and that it had targeted the Tawhid Brigade, part of the Islamic Front, an insurgent coalition including many former members of the Free Syrian Army. The Tawhid Brigade controls the border post.
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Times Topic: Crisis in Syria
The Islamic Front has clashed repeatedly with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, known as ISIS, which many Syrian insurgents say is more focused on establishing Islamic rule in Syria than fighting against President Bashar al-Assad. Some accuse ISIS of collaborating with the government.
In recent weeks, heavy fighting between ISIS and other insurgents over oil resources in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour has driven as many as 6,000 people from their homes, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. A report issued Wednesday by the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Internal Displacement Monitoring Center said that 9,500 people a day — approximately one family every 60 seconds — were displaced inside Syria.
Video from the scene of the attack Thursday showed several cars in flames and panicked rescuers carrying away the dead and wounded, some with missing limbs, as an anguished voice cried, “Oh God! Oh God!” One completely charred corpse could be seen amid the wreckage in the video, and women and children appeared to be among the dead.
Border crossings have frequently been the site of attacks between insurgent groups. A car bombing at this same crossing killed six and wounded 45 people in February, and bombs struck the Bab al-Hawa border post in January, killing at least 16.