50 killed in ISIL at­tack in Qamishli

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News/worldwide -

TWO ex­plo­sions have struck a pre­dom­i­nantly Kur­dish town in north­ern Syria, killing at least 50 peo­ple and wound­ing dozens.

Syr­ian state TV said a truck loaded with ex­plo­sions blew up on the western edge of the town of Qamishli, near the Turk­ish bor­der, yes­ter­day. Min­utes later, a mo­tor­cy­cle packed with ex­plo­sions blew up in the same area.

The Is­lamic State of Iraq and the Le­vant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the at­tack.

The Bri­tain-based Syr­ian Ob­ser­va­tory for Hu­man Rights said the ex­plo­sion tar­geted a cen­tre of the lo­cal Kur­dish po­lice and a nearby gov­ern­ment build­ing.

ISIL has car­ried out sev­eral bomb­ings in Kur­dish ar­eas in Syria in the past.

The pre­dom­i­nantly Kur­dish US-backed Syria Demo­cratic Forces have been the main force fight­ing ISIL in north­ern Syria and have cap­tured wide ar­eas from the hard­line fight­ers.

“This was a large at­tack,” said Al Jazeera’s Mo­hammed Jamjoom, re­port­ing from Gaziantep in Tur­key, which is close to the Syr­ian bor­der.

“The death toll could sig­nif­i­cantly rise through­out the day”.

The lat­est at­tack comes amid in­tense fight­ing in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, where more than 50 peo­ple have been killed in re­cent days.

As the war drags on to­wards its sixth year, there is a re­newed in­ter­na­tional push to restart the stalled Syria po­lit­i­cal talks next month.

Speak­ing in Geneva, Switzer­land, on Tues­day, fol­low­ing a closed-door meet­ing with US and Rus­sian of­fi­cials, Staffan de Mis­tura, UN spe­cial en­voy to Syria, said Wash­ing­ton and Moscow had been dis­cussing ways to work to­wards the rein­tro­duc­tion of a cease­fire.

De Mis­tura said that a third round of in­tra-Syr­ian peace talks is set for Au­gust.

“In the con­text of the bi­lat­eral meet­ing to­day, it was also agreed that we, the UN — the fa­cil­i­ta­tor, the me­di­a­tor — should con­tinue pre­par­ing pro­pos­als for ad­dress­ing dif­fi­cult is­sues that are re­lated to the [talks],” he said.

The Syr­ian Ob­ser­va­tory es­ti­mates that more than 280,000 peo­ple have been killed through­out the five years of blood­shed. Ef­forts to ne­go­ti­ate a last­ing cease­fire have col­lapsed time and again.

More than 4.8 mil­lion Syr­i­ans have be­come refugees dis­placed from their home­land, while more than 6.5 mil­lion peo­ple are in­ter­nally dis­placed within the coun­try’s bor­ders. — Al Jazeera

Hil­lary Clin­ton

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