World: Civilians killed in northern Syria marketplace missile attack

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At least 14 civilians have been killed and dozens of others wounded when a rocket attack hit the town of al-Bab in northern Syria, an opposition war monitor and a paramedic group reported.

People gather at the sight of a missile attack at a busy market in the opposition-held city of al-Bab, on the border with Turkey in Syria's northern Aleppo province, on August 19, 2022. [Bakr Alkasem/AFP] © Provided by Al Jazeera People gather at the sight of a missile attack at a busy market in the opposition-held city of al-Bab, on the border with Turkey in Syria's northern Aleppo province, on August 19, 2022. [Bakr Alkasem/AFP]

The opposition’s Syrian Civil Defence, also known as White Helmets, said five children were among those killed on Friday and that the number of those wounded was 30.

The attack in the town, which is held by Turkey-backed opposition fighters in the northeastern countryside of Aleppo, came days after an air attack killed Syrian troops and United States-backed Kurdish fighters in Aleppo. The Syrian government blamed Turkey for the attack.

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The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that Syrian government forces had carried out Friday’s attack and said it was in retaliation for the Turkish raid.

The Observatory said the attack killed at least 14 and wounded 38.

Discrepancies in casualty figures immediately after attacks are not uncommon in Syria.

A video shared on social media purportedly of the immediate aftermath of the attack showed pools of blood on the ground along with scattered bread and overturned fruit and vegetable boxes.

Al Jazeera could not independently verify the video.

Activists in al-Bab had been planning a protest after Muslim midday prayers on Friday to denounce recent comments by Turkey calling for reconciliation between the Syrian government and the opposition.

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In a statement distributed to the media after Friday’s attack, the activists cancelled the demonstration over fears of further violence.

Turkey has launched three cross-border operations into Syria since 2016 and controls territory across the north of the country.

In recent months Turkey has threatened a new operation against US-backed Kurdish forces, which it labels as “terrorist” groups.

Although fighting has waned over the past few years, shelling and air attacks are not uncommon in northern Syria, which is home to the last chief rebel stronghold in the country.

The conflict in Syria, which began in March 2011, has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced half the country’s pre-war population of 23 million.

President Bashar al-Assad’s forces now control most of Syria with the help of their allies, Russia and Iran.

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