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Bomb hits Syria field hospital near Turkish border

BEIRUT – A car bomb exploded near a charity field hospital in northwestern Syria on Sunday, wounding mostly medics and patients, said activists and Turkish media.

Ambulances raced from Turkey to retrieve the dead and wounded from the blast that occurred in the rebel-held northwestern Syrian town of Atmeh near the border with Turkey, said Syrian activists and Turkish state media.

There were at least 11 wounded, including a five-month-old baby, who were rushed to Turkey, said Syrian activists of the Idlib News group.

Zidane Zenglow, a journalist working for the pan-Arab al-Arabiya network, said at least one person was killed in the blast – a young girl, his cousin.

“There were clinics in the hospital square for Syrian refugees, and what happened is that they were most of the wounded,” Zenglow said.

The hospital, built in 2012, is run by the Orient humanitarian association that provided free medical aid to thousands of displaced Syrians who live in a sprawling camp nearby, Zenglow said. The association also runs a news website, Orient TV. The website said doctors were searching for other survivors in the ruins.

Zenglow said the blast occurred in the town of Atmeh itself, not in the camp for displaced Syrian.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the blast occurred in a parking lot near the hospital.

The Observatory, which obtains its information from a network of activists on the ground, said one boy and a medic who treats rebels was killed, while another 15 were wounded.

It was not immediately clear how many other casualties there were, because the wounded and dead were quickly taken to the Turkish side of the border.

One video uploaded to YouTube showed what the narrators said was a burnt corpse of a small boy. Another showed people standing around a large smoldering vehicle as an ambulance wailed in the background. The videos were consistent with The Associated Press reporting of the event.

A Feb. 20 car bomb targeted the Bab al-Salama border crossing in another part of northern Syria. The region is contested between rebel brigades and an al-Qaida breakaway group, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.

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With reporting by Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey.

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