Car bomb kills 2 outside aid centre in northwest Syria: relief group

Car bomb kills 2 outside aid centre in northwest Syria: relief group
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A picture taken from a government-controlled area on the outskirts of Harasta on the northeastern suburbs of Damascus on February 28, 2018. AFP

Beirut: A car bomb exploded outside a relief centre in northwest Syria on Thursday, killing at least two people including an employee of the International Rescue Committee, the New York-based humanitarian group said.

The blast hit close to an IRC centre that provides assistance to displaced Syrians in the area of Dana in the northwestern province of Idlib, the organisation said.

Most of Idlib lies beyond regime control, with parts held by a jihadist coalition led by Al-Qaeda’s former affiliate in Syria and others controlled by rival rebels.

An IRC security guard, Abdulqadir Saeed al-Ghafri, was among the dead.

The 38-year-old was married with four children and had himself been displaced from the northern city of Aleppo.

“This terrible incident is a stark reminder of the great risk taken by IRC staff and other aid workers to help the Syrian people,” IRC Middle East director Mark Schnellbaecher said.

“Aid workers are not, and must never be, a target,” he said.

In recent months, several explosions have rocked Idlib province, which has witnessed infighting between competing hardline groups opposed to President Bashar al-Assad.

The most prominent armed group is Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, which is led by Syria’s former Al-Qaeda branch.

Syria’s war has killed more than 350,000 people and displaced millions since it started in 2011 with a brutal crackdown on anti-government demonstrations.

Agence France-Presse