Panic erupted among residents of Qamishli, a predominantly Kurdish town in northeast Syria, Friday as a suspected Islamic State car explosion rocked a downtown market, and Turkish troops continued their assault on the city.

VOA reporter Zana Omar, who was present at the scene and narrowly missed the explosion, said it targeted the heavily crowded street of Munir Habib.

The Islamic State (IS) terror group later claimed responsibility for the attack on social media.

The Coordination and Military Operations Center of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said four civilians were killed and nine more were injured from the explosion.

The incident comes as Turkish military and its allied rebels on Wednesday started a military incursion into northeast Syria against the SDF following U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision Sunday to withdraw U.S. troops from the region.

The Turkish offensive has been widely criticized for targeting civilians. Aid groups and analysts warn the offensive could lead to a humanitarian crisis and the reemergence of Islamic State as a military force.

On the third day of Turkey’s assault on the Kurdish-held territory, the military reportedly sent in more ground troops and launched airstrikes and artillery fire.

According to Farman Hospital in the city, at least 10 civilians were killed and four more were injured from Turkish artillery fire.

Turkish officials say their military operation, code-named Operation Peace Spring, is to pursue a Kurdish armed group known as the Peoples’ Protection Units or the YPG.

Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist organization alleging that the group is linked to Kurdish separatists inside Turkey, known as the PKK.

The United States, however, considers the YPG a key ally that became the main local ground force to remove IS from a wide range of Syrian territory, including the group’s self-proclaimed capital Raqqa.

Source: Voice of America

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Panic erupted among residents of Qamishli, a predominantly Kurdish town in northeast Syria, Friday as a suspected Islamic State car explosion rocked a downtown market, and Turkish troops continued their assault on the city. VOA reporter Zana Omar, who was present at the scene and narrowly missed the explosion,...