13 civilians killed in explosion in Syrian border town of Tel Abyad – AA

A bomb that exploded in a market in the northeast Syrian town of Tel Abyad on Saturday killed 13 people and injured more than 30.

All of those killed were civilians, including children, state-run Anadolu news agency reported. 

Located along Syria’s border with Turkey, Tel Abyad is one of two major towns initially at the centre of Turkey’s offensive launched last month in northeast Syria targeting the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

Turkey sees the YPG as an existential threat due to its links to the Turkey-based Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), an armed group that has been fighting for Kurdish self rule in Turkey for over 30 years.

The Turkish government blamed YPG militia and the PKK for the attack. 

“We condemn this inhuman attack of the bloody PKK/YPG terrorists who attacked the innocent civilians of Tel Abyad who returned to their homes and lands as a result of the Operation Peace Spring,” Turkey’s defence ministry said on Twitter.

Following a deal between Ankara and Moscow last month, which forced the YPG away from the Turkish border, Turkish and Russian troops on Friday began joint ground patrols in northeast Syria.

According to the agreement, Turkey could keep its forces in a 120km-long, 30km-deep strip of territory between Ras al-Ain and Tel Abyad, and that Russian and Syrian troops would ensure the withdrawal of YPG fighters from the rest of the border area.