At least five people were killed and 43 wounded in a car explosion caused by a booby trapped vehicle in Idlib’s city centre, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Saturday, May 26. The number of casualties was expected to rise as some of the wounded people were in serious conditions, the war monitor said.
Video uploaded to the internet showed what appeared to be members of the Syrian Civil Defence, also known as the White Helmets, carrying out rescue operations as they escaped the flames and thick black smoke engulfing a car on what was said to be Al-Thalatheen street in the city centre.
4 dead including two children, and more than 50 wounded, mostly women and children, are the total victims that the #WhiteHelmets teams rescued and retrieved after an unknown explosion on the Thirteenth Street center of #Idlib noon today 26-5-2018 pic.twitter.com/qlLbT1jtAo
— The White Helmets (@SyriaCivilDef) May 26, 2018
The northwestern Idlib region remains the largest populated area of Syria in the hands of insurgents fighting the Assad regime. In recent years, tens of thousands of fighters and civilians have fled there from parts of the country which the army has recaptured with the help of Russia and Iran.
– 1,750,000+ people in #Idlib are in need of urgent/constant humanitarian assistance = 67% of the province’s entire population.
– c.10,000 people in #Idlib are jihadi militants = 0.04% of the population.
— Charles Lister (@Charles_Lister) May 21, 2018
The insurgents controlling Idlib include both jihadist factions and nationalist FSA rebels. The dominant force there is Hayat Tahrir al Sham, an Islamic alliance spearheaded by the former al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria.