At least 30 people have been killed in a suicide bomb attack at a Kurdish wedding in north-eastern Syria.
The bomber blew himself up on Monday night at a hall in Tal Tawil, outside Hassakeh city, reportedly while the bride and groom were exchanging vows. There were conflicting reports about whether the groom was among the dead.
So-called Islamic State said one of its militants had attacked a “large gathering” of Kurdish fighters with a machine-gun and and explosive vest. Kurdish-led forces have driven the jihadist group out of most of Hassakeh province, but they have been unable to prevent deadly bomb attacks.
A man who was at the wedding on Monday told the AFP news agency that as the bride and groom were exchanging their vows, a man passed by him wearing a thick black jacket. “I thought he looked strange and a few seconds later there was an enormous explosion,” he said. “People had fallen on the ground and I saw bodies torn to bits.”
Syria’s official Sana news agency reported that 30 people were killed and 90 others wounded, while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the death toll at 31. The UK-based monitoring group said the groom, Zaradesht Mustafa Fatimi, was among those killed.
One relative disputed the report, saying the groom was only lightly wounded but that his father and brother were both killed. “He and his new wife are staying at a relative’s home. He doesn’t want to see anyone,” the relative told AFP. “They are really shaken up by this.”
Mr Fatimi is reportedly a member of a prominent family involved in the autonomous administration run by Kurdish factions in northern Syria. The Observatory said Mr Fatimi was also a member of the Syrian Democratic Forces, a coalition of Kurdish and Arab fighters that is battling IS with the support of a US-led multinational coalition.
Earlier on Monday, two bombers blew themselves up in a square in the government-controlled western city of Hama, killing three people, Sana reported.