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February 3, 2019

One killed, four hurt in Syria bus attack


February 3, 2019

BEIRUT: A roadside bomb struck a bus carrying teachers in Manbij killing one person on Saturday, the latest in a spate of attacks in the northern Syrian city since mid-January, a war monitor said.The device exploded as the bus passed, killing the driver and wounding at least four others, Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP.

Sherfan Darwish, a spokesman for Manbij's military council, reported on Twitter a "terrorist explosion with an explosive device against a vehicle of teachers".

Manbij is a former Islamic State (IS) group stronghold that is now held by a military council affiliated to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a Kurdish-Arab force that is supported by a US-led coalition.

On January 16, four Americans were among 19 people killed in a suicide attack in the city claimed by IS.

On Friday, an explosion wounded a senior leader of the military council as he was on patrol, Abdel Rahman said.

The attacks follow US President Donald Trump´s announcement in December that he would withdraw American troops from Syria, as he declared IS had been defeated.

After a lightning offensive that saw it seize large swathes of Iraq and Syria in 2014, the group´s self-declared "caliphate" has crumbled under pressure from multiple offensives, but the jihadists remain able to launch deadly attacks.

Manbij constitutes a major point of contention between Syria's Kurdish minority, which maintains de facto autonomy in parts of northern and northeastern Syria, and neighbouring Turkey. In December, Ankara threatened to launch a new offensive to dislodge the People's Protection Units (YPG) -- a Kurdish militia that forms the backbone of the SDF, but is considered a terrorist group by Turkey -- from its borders.

Syria's multi-fronted war has killed more than 360,000 people since it began in 2011 with President Bashar al-Assad´s regime bloodily suppressing protests.

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