The jihadist Islamic State (IS) group has killed at least 37 people, mostly refugees from Iraq and Syria, in an attack on a checkpoint held by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The extremist group attacked the Rajm Slebi checkpoint, used as a temporary shelter for more than 300 families fleeing war, early in the morning the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported.
Refugees from Iraq and internally displaced civilians from Syria were awaiting access to the UN funded al-Hol camp, which is in the Hasakah governorate in northern Syria’s autonomous region, when the attack occurred, reports said.
— Barzan Sadiq (@BarzanSadiq) May 2, 2017
According to SOHR, US-backed SDF fighters were also killed in clashes that broke out after the attack.
More than 30 people have been taken to hospital nearby as calls for blood donations were made in the area.
— MiddleEastrnfeminist (@Haw_Kurdy) May 2, 2017
According to local Hawar news agency, clashes between the SDF and IS in Rajm Slebi and Ash Shaddadi areas have stopped after the multiethnic SDF pushed the jihadists back.
Reports suggest IS used several suicide bombers in the attack, but this has not been confirmed.
The attack comes as the SDF near the complete takeover of the strategically important city Tabqah, where IS’s supply routes from Aleppo have been cut off by the US-backed fighters.