This shocking footage shows the moment a fuel tanker bomb explodes in heavy traffic in Syria killing at least 40 civilians.
The incident took place in the northern Syrian city of Afrin, in the Aleppo Governorate, which is held by Turkish-backed opposition fighters, near the entrance to the city’s main market.
In the video, traffic can be seen moving slowly down the road when a huge explosion suddenly engulfs the street in a fireball.
The blast was caused by a hand grenade being rigged to a fuel tanker, according to Turkish officials.
Turkey’s Defence Ministry has accused the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which it says is an extension of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), as being responsible for the blast.
The ministry wrote on social media: “The enemy of humanity PKK/YPG has once again targeted innocent civilians in Afrin.”
The PKK is designated as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and EU and the YPG deny being an extension of the group.
Reports state at least 40 people were killed in the attack, while local media outlet Rudaw report local officials say 42 deaths have been confirmed.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, said 40 civilians were killed along with six Syrian opposition fighters allied to Turkey.
Rudaw report that Raed Saleh, Director of the Syrian Civil Defence said: “Our teams are still searching and rescuing. There could be more.”
Reports state the blast took place on Tuesday, with the nearby market normally very busy in the hours before Muslims break their fasts from dawn until dusk during Ramadan.
Turkey’s Ministry of Defence said that 47 people had been wounded whilst 11 of those killed were children.
United States State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus released a statement reading: “The United States condemns the act of terror carried out today in Afrin, Syria, claiming the lives of dozens of people shopping in the central market as they prepared to break the Ramadan fast. Initial reports indicate many victims were civilians, including children. Such cowardly acts of evil are unacceptable from any side in this conflict.
“The U.S. renews its call for support and implementation of a nationwide ceasefire in Syria, as called for by UN Special Representative Geir Pedersen.”
The YPG has not commented on the incident and no group has claimed responsibility for the blast.
The YPG regularly clashes with Turkey and Turkish-backed militants who ousted the Kurdish group from the city in 2018.
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