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The car exploded in front of the Syriac-Orthodox Church of the Blessed Virgin in this mostly Kurdish Qamichli town on July 11, 2019. Gihad Darwish / AFP

The explosion of two car bombs in less than 24 hours in a region controlled by the Turkish army and a Kurdish stronghold in Syria left at least 13 people dead and 50 wounded.

With our correspondent in Beirut, Paul Khalifeh

The first explosion took place near a barrage of pro-Turkish rebels at the entrance to the city of Afrin, north of Aleppo, while vehicles were massed for inspection. The victims include at least eight civilians, including two children.

The former Kurdish stronghold of Afrin was captured by rebels backed by the Turkish army almost a year ago, after a multi-month battle that left thousands dead. Since then, the rebels and the Turkish army have been attacked by Kurdish fighters, who still control an important neighborhood in the city of Aleppo.

The second explosion targeted a church in the predominantly Kurdish city of Qamichli in northeastern Syria. The bomb, which left at least ten injured, damaged the main facade of the church of the Holy Virgin of the Syriac Orthodox and neighboring buildings.

The city of Qamichli is controlled mainly by Kurdish forces backed by the United States. The Syrian army and its proxy militias dominate the airport and most of the Arab neighborhoods of the city.

Qamichli is sometimes the scene of fighting between the Syrian army and Kurdish militia or attacks perpetrated by dormant cells of the Islamic State group.