BEIRUT — A rocket attack on a busy market in a town held by Turkish-backed opposition fighters in northern Syria killed 15 people and injured dozens on Friday, an opposition war monitor and paramedical group reported.
The attack on the town of al-Bab came days after a Turkish airstrike killed at least 11 Syrian troops and US-backed Kurdish fighters. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, blamed Syrian government forces for Friday’s shelling and said it was in retaliation for the Turkish airstrike.
The Observatory said the attack killed 15 people, including three children, and injured more than 30. The opposition Syrian Civil Defense, also known as White Helmets, had the same death, but said 28 were injured. The paramedical group said its members evacuated some of the injured and dead bodies.
“These are the worst massacres perpetrated by regime forces since fighting between the regime and the opposition ended,” said Observatory chief Rami Abdurrahman, referring to a ceasefire in March 2020 that ended a broad offensive by the Syrian government in rebel-controlled areas.
The US-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said in a statement that their fighters did not fire on al-Bab. There was no comment from the government.
Turkey has launched three major cross-border operations in Syria since 2016 and controls some areas in the north.
Although fighting has subsided in recent years, shelling and airstrikes are not uncommon in northern Syria, which is home to the last major rebel stronghold in the country.
The conflict in Syria that began in March 2011 has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced half of the pre-war population of 23 million.
President Bashar Assad’s forces have regained control of most parts of Syria in recent years, with the help of their allies, Russia and Iran.
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