DAMASCUS (Dispatches) – At least 17 people were killed on Wednesday in an explosion near a terrorist position in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib, a war monitor reported.
A woman and two children were among those killed in the bombing near an office of the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the umbrella group of the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, in the city of Jisr al-Shughour in Idlib.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it's not clear yet what caused the explosion, speculating that it could be a car bomb.
A total of 28 people were also wounded in the blast, and the death toll could likely rise as many of those wounded are in critical conditions, according to the UK-based watchdog group.
The Observatory has been recently reporting the rampant state of lawlessness in Idlib, saying in a recent report that more than 500 people have been killed in Idlib since last April.
Turkey and Russia brokered a deal in last Sept. to impose a demilitarized zone in Idlib and its surrounding areas. However, violations are still being reported on an almost daily basis.
The terrorist groups such as the HTS refused to withdraw from the zone.
On the contrary, the HTS expanded and controlled the entire Idlib area.
Meanwhile, terrorists from the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham terrorist group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, together with members of the so-called White Helmets civil defense group are reportedly making preparations to stage chemical attacks in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib as well as the west-central province of Hama in a bid to implicate Syrian government forces and invent pretexts for possible acts of aggression on army troops.
Local sources, requesting not to be named, told Syria’s official news agency SANA on Tuesday that Jabhat Fateh al-Sham terrorists and Western-backed White Helmets, who have been accused of cooperating with Takfiri militants and staging false flag gas attacks, have already withdrawn from Jarjnaz village in Maarrat al-Nu'man district of Idlib as a prelude to launching the attacks in order "to frame the Syrian army and justify a pretext for a U.S. act of aggression.”
Sources highlighted that terrorists and their allies are planning to use chlorine gas in their anticipated attacks.
The wreckage of a car and a damaged building in the background are seen in Syria's militant-held city of Idlib on February 18, 2019, following a double bomb attack.