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AFP
April 25, 2019

Blast claims 15 lives in Syria

World

AFP
April 25, 2019

JISR AL SHUGHUR, Syria: A powerful explosion on Wednesday killed 15 people including more than a dozen civilians in jihadist-held northwest Syria, a war monitor said, as rescuers searched for people trapped under the rubble.

An AFP reporter at the scene saw a building of at least four storeys that had collapsed in the town of Jisr al-Shughur in Idlib, a region controlled by Syria’s former al-Qaeda affiliate. One opposite had partially caved in while surrounding buildings appeared on the verge of collapse.

A civil defence worker eased himself under a massive slab of fallen concrete to search for victims, as three colleagues crouched by his side to help. Thirteen civilians were among those killed in the blast, the cause of which was not immediately clear, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group.

"The explosion hit next to the market," killing 15 people including the daughter of a Turkestani fighter, Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said. He earlier said the explosion could have been the result of a car bomb or a vehicle carrying explosives that detonated.

But bystanders and the head of the local civil defence unit, Abdelwahab al-Abdu, said they did not know what caused it. Abdu said 13 civilians had died in "an explosion of unknown origin". Abu Ammar, a father of two, told AFP he felt the "huge" blast from his home about 50 metres (yards) away. "We ran to the place of the explosion and saw the rescue teams trying to pull out the wounded," he said.

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