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Thursday, 27 June 2019

Six jihadists among 8 killed by blast in Syria's Idlib

AFP , Friday 1 Mar 2019
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Six jihadists, mostly foreigners, were among eight people killed in a bomb attack on a restaurant in the Syrian city of Idlib on Friday, a war monitor said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 22 people were wounded in the explosion that hit a restaurant frequented by foreign jihadists, including Europeans and Uzbeks.

At least five foreign fighters were among those killed in the blast, but their nationalities are not known, Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

He said jihadists had tried to open fire on the suicide bomber, who still managed to detonate his explosive belt inside the restaurant.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Abdel Rahman said the bomber was believed to be a member of the Islamic State group.

IS is known to have sleeper cells in the area.

An AFP correspondent saw blood spattered on the floor of the wrecked restaurant.

Rubble and broken plates littered the floor.

Idlib is held by an alliance led by Syria's former Al-Qaeda affiliate, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham -- a grouping that opposes IS.

HTS took administrative control of the whole of the region last month, after overpowering smaller factions that are backed by Turkey.

Idlib has been protected from a massive offensive by President Bashar al-Assad's regime since September, thanks to a buffer zone deal agreed by Damascus' ally Russia and rebel backer Turkey.

But it has been hit by sporadic government shelling.

Eight years into a multi-faceted conflict that has killed more than 360,000 people, Syria's government has wrested back large swathes of territory to control around two-thirds of the country.

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