Blast rocks Syrian border post with Turkey, scores injured

by Reuters
Thursday, 20 February 2014 14:50 GMT

(Adds hospital official on wounded, details)

ISTANBUL, Feb 20 (Reuters) - An explosion believed to have been caused by a car bomb tore through a Syrian border post near a refugee camp on the frontier with Turkey on Thursday, wounding scores of people, local officials said.

Ambulances ferried the injured to the southern Turkish city of Kilis, where a state hospital official said at least 40 people were being treated.

A Turkish border official said the blast near Turkey's Oncupinar border post, which sits opposite the Syrian Bab al-Salameh gate, could be felt several kilometres (miles) away, but that the border gate remained open.

Turkey is sheltering more than 600,000 refugees from Syria's civil war and has kept its border open throughout the conflict. Thousands of people have been fleeing the Syrian city of Aleppo, some 60 km (40 miles) south of Kilis, in recent weeks because of a campaign of improvised "barrel bomb" attacks by President Bashar al-Assad's forces.

Towns near Bab al-Salameh have also seen sporadic clashes between the rebels fighting Assad and fighters from an al Qaeda splinter group, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

(Reporting by Ozge Ozbilgin and Seyhmus Cakan in Turkey, Oliver Holmes and Erika Solomon in Beirut; Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Mark Heinrich; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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