Bomber Kills Dozens Near Syrian City Of Al-Bab

A suicide car bomber has struck in a village on the outskirts of the strategic Syrian city of Al-Bab, killing at least 40 people.

Local sources and the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the February 24 blast at a militia checkpoint in the village of Sousian killed around 35 civilians and about five fighters with a Turkey-backed opposition militia.

There was no claim of responsibility, but the Turkey-backed fighters announced the previous day that they had taken Al-Bab from the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group.

Sousian is about 8 kilometers northwest of Al-Bab.

Al-Bab has been an IS stronghold some 30 kilometers from the border. An offensive to take the city was launched in December.

Turkey launched its Operation Euphrates Shield in August with the aim of pushing IS militants away from its border with Syria.

Turkish state news agency Anadolu said about 1,900 square kilometers of Syrian territory along the border has been freed of IS control since the operation began.

The Turkey-backed militants are pushing toward Raqqa, the de facto IS capital in Syria.

Based on reporting by AFP, Anadolu, Reuters, and dpa