The Latest: Car bomb kills 13 civilians in northern Syria

International

Turkish and Russian patrol is seen near the town of Darbasiyah, Syria, Friday, Nov. 1, 2019. Turkey and Russia launched joint patrols Friday in northeastern Syria, under a deal that halted a Turkish offensive against Syrian Kurdish fighters who were forced to withdraw from the border area following Ankara’s incursion.(AP Photo/Baderkhan Ahmad)

BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on developments in Syria (all times local):

5:05 p.m.

Turkey’s Defense Ministry says a car bomb went off in the northern Syrian town of Tal Abyad, killing 13 civilians.

The ministry says that about 20 others were wounded when the bomb exploded Saturday in central Tal Abyad, which was captured last month by Turkey-backed opposition gunmen from Kurdish-led fighters.

The ministry blamed Syrian Kurdish fighters for the attack, saying it harshly condemns it and called on the international community to take a stance against this “cruel terror organization.”

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Turkey last month invaded northeastern Syria to push out Syrian Kurdish fighters, who it considers terrorists for their links to a Kurdish insurgency inside Turkey.

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1:55 p.m.

A Kurdish-led force says Christian fighters will now oversee security in a northern Syrian region that has witnessed fighting between Turkey-backed fighters and Kurdish-led militiamen.

The Syrian Democratic Forces said Saturday that the deployment will take place in villages close to the town of Tal Tamr in the Khabur river region. That area is home to Syria’s dwindling Christian Syriac and Assyrian communities.

Turkish-backed fighters have been advancing in the area since last month, leading to the displacement of about 200,000 people.

There have been concerns in Christian villages about possible atrocities by Turkey-backed fighters, which include former jihadists.

The SDF said it’s deploying the Syriac Military Council and Assyrian fighters in the Khabur river region. Both groups are part of the SDF.

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