IS says it's behind attack that killed 44 in northern Syria

Two explosions have struck a predominantly Kurdish town in northern Syria, killing at least 50 people and wounding dozens.

Minutes later, a motorcycle, also packed with explosives, blew off in the same area. Rescue teams are working to find people under the rubble.

Territory that Islamic State controls in that area was a major supply route to the outside world via the Turkish-Syrian border, through which it moved weapons and fighters.

ISIS claimed responsibility and said in a statement that one of its members drove a truck rigged with explosives to reach the Kurdish administrative complex where defense, interior and military recruiting departments operated.

Syrian state TV reported two bombs went off, while SANA news agency said a auto bomb was used in the attack.

While Qamishli has been targeted before, the group says this is the biggest explosion ever to hit the city.

The jihadist group said Wednesday's attack was in response to air strikes on the IS-held city of Manbij in north-west Aleppo province, where the SDF is on the offensive. Footage of the blast showed a gray cloud of smoke rising from near buildings with their exterior walls blown out, cars on fire, and people running.

"Most of the buildings at the scene of the explosion have been heavily damaged because of the strength of the blast", he added.

The Kurdish YPG army has been one of the main forces fighting IS in northern Syria and is backed by the United States and western allies.

The attack reportedly targeted a Kurdish security headquarters that was located nearby, according to the SOHR.

Qamishli resident Suleiman Youssef, a writer, told The Associated Press by telephone that he heard the first explosion from few miles away.

"We promise (our people) that we will take revenge from Daesh and its allies for martyrs, and wounded and for Qamishli", Ibrahim said in a recorded video message posted on the security forces' Facebook Page, using the Arabic acronym for IS.

  • Joey Payne