At least 46 people were killed by a fuel truck blast in northern Syria on Tuesday. The explosion took place in a market in Afrin, a city controlled by Turkish-backed rebel fighters.
According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least six Turkish-backed rebel fighters were among the dead.
There are fears that the death toll could rise as 50 people are reported to be wounded, with some in critical condition.
While it’s not clear who was behind the blast, the Turkish Defense Ministry blamed the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in a statement posted on Twitter.
The YPG is viewed as a “terrorist” offshoot of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), which has been waging a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state.
“The enemy of humanity PKK/YPG has once again targeted innocent civilians in Afrin,” the ministry said.
According to activists, several people were burned to death in the blast, including some who were stuck inside their vehicles.
Videos and photographs of the aftermath show charred bodies covered with blankets in ambulances and a hospital yard.
Afrin, a mainly Kurdish enclave, was captured by the Turkish army and allied Syrian rebel fighters in 2018.
In the last few months the city has witnessed a string of car bombings, but Tuesday’s blast was one of the biggest.
Image: (@picture-alliance/AA/Turkish Defense Ministry)