Two car bombs kill at least 26 people in eastern Syrian city
Two car bomb blasts killed at least 26 people and wounded dozens more in the mostly Kurdish-controlled eastern Syrian city of Hasaka on Monday, a monitor and state media reported.
The separate explosions targeted and killed Kurdish fighters in one area and Syrian government forces in another, and also left at least 13 civilians dead, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Hasaka is mostly Kurdish-controlled after advances this year by a Kurdish militia in the region, and a weakening of government forces in the city after an attack by Islamic State, which is also fighting in eastern Syria.
Kurdish fighters have mostly avoided conflict with Syrian government forces, focusing instead on repelling Islamic State.
The first blast on Monday hit Khashman area in the north of the city targeting Kurdish internal security forces there and killing six of them, the Observatory said.
The second targeted a Syrian government forces headquarters in the center of Hasaka, killing seven security personnel, it said.
State news agency SANA confirmed the total toll of 26. State TV gave an initial count of 20 people killed in the second blast alone.
The Observatory said at least 13 civilians including two children were killed in the blasts.
Hasaka had been divided into zones controlled by the Syrian government and the Kurds until an Islamic State attack in June.
Overstretched government forces collapsed in the face of that attack, leaving the city\’s defense to Kurdish militia the People\’s Protection Units (YPG), which now controls nearly all of Hasaka.
The YPG has seized wide areas of territory from Islamic State this year, backed by U.S.-led air strikes.
Monday\’s first car bomb targeted the Kurdish internal security force, known as the Asayish, which is part of the Kurdish administration that has emerged in areas of northern Syria where the Damascus-based government has lost control.
Asayish are frequently targeted by Islamic State.
The head of the Asayish has told Reuters that Western states have provided it with counter-terrorism training.