Bomb kills 8 in Syrian town held by Turkey-backed forces
BEIRUT — A bomb blast in a northwestern Syrian town held by Turkish-backed opposition forces killed at least eight people and wounded two dozen Sunday, activists and local security said, the latest in a series of attacks along the border where Turkey has troops.
The spike in attacks follows Turkish threats to expand its offensive against US-backed Syrian Kurdish forces, moving from the areas it currently controls in northwestern Syria to the east, where US troops are also based. The US-led coalition against the Islamic State group backs the Syrian Kurdish fighters who have gained control of nearly 30 percent of Syrian territory, mostly in eastern Syria, after chasing out extremist militants from the area. But Turkey considers the Kurdish militia an existential threat and considers it an extension of an insurgency within its territory.
Turkey has backed Syrian opposition fighters to fight Islamic State militants and uproot the Kurdish militia from along its borders since 2016.
Meanwhile in Doha, Turkey’s foreign minister said if Syria’s president, Bashar Assad, were to win internationally monitored elections, then Turkey and other countries would consider working with him.
The Turkish minister said ‘‘credible, transparent, democratic, and fair elections’’ must take place where Syrians, including those abroad, can vote.