On February 18, a booby-trapped car exploded in the western part of the Christian city of Qamishli near the Syrian-Turkish border, according to the Kurdish Hawar News Agency (ANHA).
A source in al-Hasakah governorate police told the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) that at least five civilians had been killed and 7 others were injured in the explosion. The source added that most of the injured civilians are in critical condition and suggested that the death toll could raise.
Local sources believe that the booby-trapped car was likely planted by ISIS cells. However, the ISIS-linked news agency Amaq has not yet confirmed this.
Most of Qamishli, including the local airport, is under control of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA). The northern city witnessed a series of brutal suicide attacks between 2014 and 2016 which were conducted by ISIS cells. On July 27, 2016, over fifty civilians were killed in a single suicide attack in Qamishli.
Several local activists blame the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) for the lack of security in Qamishli. Some activists even claim that the SDF is ignoring ISIS cells around the city on purpose because it views these attacks as a pressure on the SAA inside the strategic city.