ISIS suspected in car bombing at Syrian-Turkish border

A car bomb exploded near the Syrian-Turkish border today, killing at least 43 people and injuring more than 80, The New York Times reported, citing the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

According to Turkish media, 70 Syrians were transferred across the border into Turkey for treatment, 13 of whom died. Turkish Armed Forces sent armed vehicles to the border after the explosion to step up the security.

The car blew up at a garage near the Bab al-Salam crossing between the Turkish province of Kilis and the Syrian province of Aleppo. The Aleppo Media Center said that the suicide attack was carried out by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). The governor of Kilis also said in an earlier statement that the reports suggest ISIS was behind the attacks.

Bab al-Salam has been a major battleground for Syria’s insurgent groups. It is one of the key border crossings into Turkey, providing the groups in control of it with customs revenues and the ability to monitor weapons transfers into Syria through Turkey, including Saudi, Qatari, and Western weapons.

The Azaz district of Aleppo, where the Bab al-Salam crossing is located, came under the control of the Free Syrian Army in 2012 but was captured by ISIS in September 2013. Clashes between the the insurgent groups continued over the Bab al-Salam crossing until ISIS withdrew from Azaz in March.

Turkey has had to close its Oncupinar border crossing in Kilis, opposite the Bab al-Salam crossing in Syria, multiple times over the past months because of the ISIS threat. The area is currently under the control of the Islamic Front’s Tawhid Brigade.

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