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Border post in Syria targeted by deadly blast

BEIRUT — A powerful explosion ripped through a Syrian border post Thursday near a refugee camp on the border with Turkey, setting cars ablaze and killing at least five people, Syrian opposition activists and Turkish state media said.

The blast, believed to have been caused by a car bomb, tore through the Bab al-Salama border crossing, also wounding a large number of people taken to hospitals in the Turkish town of Kilis across the border. Thousands of people have fled from Aleppo through the border crossing in recent weeks because of the government’s escalated aerial bombardment there.

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The exact number of casualties was not immediately clear.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least five people were killed, adding that the number was likely to be larger due to the number of wounded people in critical condition. Nazeer al-Khatib, an activist in Aleppo, said nine people were killed in the car bombing, citing eyewitnesses in the area. Many others were in critical condition, he said.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu agency reported that the explosion killed at least 10 people.

An online video uploaded by activists showed people ferrying casualties, including a young boy, away from the flames as ambulances rushed to the scene. The video appeared genuine and consistent with Associated Press reporting on the incident.

The Bab al-Salama crossing is controlled by rivals of an Al Qaeda breakaway group, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The two sides have engaged in deadly infighting as the splinter group has sought to take over the crossing.

Also on Thursday, the relief agency supporting Palestinian refugees resumed food distribution inside the rebel-held district of the Syrian capital that has suffered from crippling shortages of food and medicine for months, a United Nations spokesman said.

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