2 MAY 2017
By Josie Ensor, Beirut
More than 30 people have been killed after five Isil suicide bombers blew themselves up near a refugee camp on the Syria-Iraq border.
The dawn attack on Tuesday hit a makeshift camp where some 300 families were waiting to cross into Kurdish-held territory in Hassakeh province, in northeastern Syria.
Many of the dead were women and children who had recently fled Isil-held parts of the Iraqi city of Mosul as well as the countryside around Raqqa, the capital of the group’s so-called caliphate.
Kurdish media say Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) militants sporadically attack civilians trying to reach them.
Heavy clashes then erupted between the jihadists and the US-allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), some of whose combatants were among the dead.
The makeshift camp lies in the Rajm al-Salibeh area just inside Syrian territory, and at least 21 of the dead were displaced Syrians or Iraqi refugees, the UK-based monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
“At least 30 people were wounded, and the death toll may rise because some people are in critical condition and others are still unaccounted for,” the Britain-based monitor said.
Civilians fleeing Isil in both Syria and Iraq have made their way to the desolate border region seeking protection and onward passage to safety in Kurdish-controlled territory.
But conditions in the area are harsh, with little shelter and authorities often overstretched.
The attack came as the Kurdish-Arab alliance known as the SDF presses an offensive against Isil in the town of Tabqa as they inch closer to Raqqa.
In recent days, it has captured most of the key town of Tabqa, which occupies a strategic position on a supply route about 35 miles west of Raqqa city. – The Telegraph