Blast at Syrian camp near Turkish border kills 35

Blast at Syrian camp near Turkish border kills 35

Blast at Syrian camp near Turkish border kills 35

DHA photo

At least 35 Syrians were killed and many more wounded in a blast on Oct. 6 at a camp at the town of Atmeh near the border with Turkey.

A blast occurred at around 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 6 at the refugee tent camp in Atmeh, which lies across the border from Turkey’s southern district of Reyhanlı, which killed at least 35 Syrians and wounded multiple others, Doğan News Agency reported. 

While most of the wounded were taken to hospitals in Syria, seven of them were brought to the Reyhanlı state hospital in Turkey’s southern province of Hatay. 

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights kept the death toll at 29 and said it was unclear what caused the explosion at the Atmeh crossing, adding that the people killed were Ankara-backed Syrian rebels.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which has been fighting the rebels and their Turkish allies, said a “soldier of the caliphate” detonated a car bomb as the rebel fighters were crossing into Syria, the U.S.-based monitor SITE Intelligence Group reported.

The ISIL statement said several commanders of the Islamist Ahrar al-Sham rebel group were among the dead. 

On the same day, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia was ready to work on the draft U.N. resolution France submitted to the U.N. Security Council. 

“We are ready to work on this text” provided it does not contradict the U.S.-Russia cease-fire agreement or other U.N. resolutions, Lavrov said at a press conference with his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault.

Lavrov said Russian President Vladimir Putin would visit Paris on Oct. 19 to discuss the situation in Syria and Ukraine with his French counterpart Francois Hollande. 

On Oct. 5, Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry discussed the situation in Syria in a telephone call, just two days after Washington said it was breaking off bilateral diplomacy with Moscow on the Syrian war. 

Lavrov and Kerry also talked about the crisis in Ukraine and cooperation in the U.N. Security Council on North Korea during the phone conversation, which was organized at the request of the U.S. side, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. 

In Washington, the U.S. State Department said the call did not amount to a resumption of bilateral contacts with Lavrov over the effort to reach a cease-fire in Syria. 

“What we talked about the other day was bilateral engagement with regard to Syria,” U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner told a briefing. “That remains suspended, but it certainly doesn’t preclude the ... secretary of state and Foreign Minister Lavrov from talking.” 

“It would be irresponsible for us, given what’s happening in Aleppo, not to touch base with Foreign Minister Lavrov periodically,” he added. 

Syrian government forces advanced against rebels inside Aleppo on Oct. 6, making their biggest gains in the ravaged city in years just hours after announcing they would ease their air bombardment.

The Observatory said loyalist fighters now controlled around half of the Bustan al-Basha district near the center of the divided metropolis.

The army said Oct. 6 in a surprise announcement it would reduce its bombardment “after the success of our armed forces in Aleppo and cutting off all terrorist supply routes into the eastern districts.”

Meanwhile, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Oct. 6 that Moscow’s year-long bombing campaign in Syria had showcased the “reliability” of Russian weaponry, as the Kremlin helped stabilize the war-ravaged country.  

“In that period we have managed to stabilize the situation in the country and liberate a significant part of the territory from armed international terrorist groups,” Shoigu told a conference.

“Many types of modern weapons produced in our country were tested in difficult desert conditions and generally have shown their reliability and effectiveness.”