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Syria: Civilians injured in car bomb blast near Qamishli Asayish HQ

A vehicle bomb exploded in the city of Qamishli in Al-Hasakah governorate of northeastern Syria on Monday, June 17, with civilian casualties reported.

Local media reported the vehicle exploded by Sony roundabout near the Asayish internal security forces headquarters in the city. The bomb reportedly caused casualties among civilians and damage to nearby buildings.

Joan Garcia from the Rojava Information Center told The Defense Post that the bombing occurred outside the Asayish headquarters in the Qidurbek neighborhood, and that “injuries and shrapnel damage to surrounding homes and businesses have been reported.” Garcia added that an 8-year old child had been taken to the hospital but there had been no deaths reported.

A local source told The Defense Post that civilians had been “hit” in the explosion.

Qamishli is the capital of the self-declared autonomous region of North and East Syria. Most of the city is under control of the Syrian Democratic Forces, a mixed Kurdish-Arab militia that is supported by the U.S.-led Coalition in the fight against ISIS, although parts of the city are also under the control of the Syrian government.

Islamic State’s propaganda outlet Amaq said later on Monday that ISIS fighters “blew up a car bomb” in front of the “intelligence headquarters” of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.

In 2007, the PKK restructured, forming Koma Civakên Kurdistan (Kurdistan Communities Union, KCK), an umbrella group for parties that subscribe to the democratic confederalism ideology of jailed PKK founder and leader Abdullah Ocalan.

The People’s Protection Units (YPG), the largest and key component of the Syrian Democratic Forces alliance, is aligned with the KCK. ISIS generally refers to the SDF, its components, and other Kurdish groups in Northeast Syria as the PKK.

The city has been targeted several times in recent years, including by ISIS, but has seen less violence than other parts of Syria. A July 2016 truck bombing claimed by ISIS killed 45 people and injured over 100, the deadliest ever attack in the city. In January, the Asayish dismantled a car bomb that had been discovered in the city.

Data gathered by the Rojava Information Center indicated two explosions in Qamishli last month, one in April, and none in March.

Since the defeat of its territorial caliphate ISIS has expanded insurgent attacks against SDF controlled parts of northeastern Syria. While most attacks have been in Deir Ez-zor province, ISIS has also targeted Raqqa, Aleppo and to a lesser extent Hasakah provinces.

Jared Szuba contributed reporting.

This story was updated on June 17 with the ISIS claim.

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