Two vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) detonated in Afrin and Ghandura (Aleppo province), near Jarabulus, on Friday, February 22, killing at least six people. In Afrin, a car bomb exploded via remote control following a parade by Turkey-backed security forces in the area, killing two people and wounding at least 20 others; in Ghandura, a VBIED detonated while Turkey-backed Arab fighters attempted to defuse it. Though no group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks, the People's Protection Units (YPG) - primarily composed of Kurdish fighters - are suspected of having carried them out.
Similar attacks targeting Turkey-backed Arab forces in northwestern Syria are possible over the near term.
YPG fighters have been blamed for several bombings in northwestern Syria since Turkey-backed Arab fighters wrested control of parts of Aleppo province previously occupied by the Syrian Democratic Forces (led by the YPG) in Operation Olive Branch, launched January 2018.
To date, the Syrian Civil War - which began in 2011 - involves many parties, including the Syrian government, the Russian government, the Iranian government, the Turkish government, a US-led coalition, and numerous armed groups on the ground (including the Islamic State) with competing goals.
Due to extremely poor security conditions, Western governments generally advise against all travel to Syria, with some banning travel to the country. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to any travel to Syria.
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