Beirut: A car bomb exploded in a northern Syrian town near the Turkish border Saturday, killing and wounding a number of people hours after Syrian rebels shot down a helicopter gunship over a slum in the northern city of Aleppo, activists said.
The Aleppo Media Centre said the car bomb exploded in a vegetable market in the town of Azaz near the border with Turkey. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the car blew up near a gas station. The Observatory said the blast killed at least four people and wounded several others while the AMC said it killed and wounded a number of people but had no immediate figures.
Car bombs have claimed the lives of hundreds of people since the Syrian uprising began three years ago. The government and the opposition have traded blame for the deadly attacks.
Earlier in the day, the Observatory said the helicopter was shot down with a missile Friday night over a poor area of town known as Camp Nairab. Camp Nairab is adjacent to the Nairab military airport southeast of the city, where aircraft take off to carry out attacks in northern Syria.
Helicopters are used by President Bashar Al Assad’s forces to drop barrel bombs - crude explosives that have killed thousands of people and caused widespread destruction, especially in Aleppo.
Rebels have rarely succeeded in downing helicopters, and have long requested anti-aircraft weapons from Western and Arab nations. The United States and its allies have refused, fearing that such weapons could fall into the hands of extremists, who could use them to target passenger planes.
The Observatory and an Aleppo-based activist who goes by the name Abu Saeed Ezs Al Din said the helicopter crash killed four people, including a child. The Observatory said three of the dead were the helicopter’s crew members.
Aleppo, once Syria’s commercial capital, has seen heavy fighting since rebels seized part of the city in 2012.