Syria weapons depot blast kills dozens of civilians

Syrian blast kills 18

Syrian blast kills 18

Gen. Suheil al-Hassan, arrived in northern Syria to spearhead what they called the "Dawn of Idlib" operation.

Syrian opposition activists said an explosion in the country's north has killed at least 18 people and wounded many others.

The opposition-run Syrian Civil Defense, first responders also known as the White Helmets, said the blast occurred in the village of Sarmada near the Turkish border, killing 36 people and wounding many others.

There are still dozens of people missing, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) monitor says.

On Sunday, rescuers in Sarmada used bulldozers to remove the rubble and pull out trapped people, a correspondent for the AFP news agency reported.

But the cause of the blast was "not yet clear", Abdel Rahman added. Due to the explosion, a five-story building collapsed, burying numerous victims.

He said most of those killed were family members of fighters from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, an alliance led by terrorists from Syria's former Al-Qaeda affiliate, who had been displaced to the area from the central province of Homs.

A rescue worker carried the motionless body of a small child from the wreckage to an ambulance, the AFP correspondent said.

In recent months, a series of explosions and assassinations - mainly targeting terrorists - have rocked the province.

In recent days, regime forces have ramped up their deadly bombardment of southern Idlib and sent reinforcements to nearby areas they control.

President Bashar Assad has warned that government forces intend to retake Idlib, after his Russia-backed regime regained control of swathes of rebel held territory elsewhere.