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At least 23 killed in explosion targeting rebel-held city in Syria

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the explosion was caused by either a drone or a car bomb and targeted the headquarters of a rebel faction in Idlib.
/ Source: Reuters

BEIRUT — An explosion in Syria's northwestern city of Idlib killed at least 23 people and injured more, including civilians, a war monitor reported Sunday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the explosion targeted the headquarters of a minor rebel faction in Idlib.

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The nature of the attack wasn't immediately clear. The monitor said there were conflicting accounts, attributing the explosion that shook the Thalatheen district of the city to either a car bomb or a drone attack.

Image: Explosion in Syria
Emergency services search for victims of an explosion in the rebel-held city of Idlib in northwestern Syria on Sunday.Yahya Nemah / EPA

Ambulances were deployed to the site, and rescue teams were continuing efforts to recover bodies and the injured from the rubble of the targeted building and neighboring houses, the monitor added.

The majority of the deaths were fighters from the rebel group, in addition to seven civilians, with several people still unaccounted for, it said.

Idlib province, a stronghold of rebels in Syria, is on the border with Turkey, one of the main backers of rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad.

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The Syrian army and its allies launched an offensive in October to recapture the provinces of Idlib and Hama, and it has since been making swift advances.

The main rebel force in Idlib is Tahrir al-Sham, spearheaded by the former al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria previously called Nusra Front.

The Syrian army lost Idlib to insurgents when the provincial capital fell in 2015. It became the only province fully under opposition control.