Ban Ki-moon condemns 'heinous' Syria Kurdish new year attacks

Ban Ki-moon condemns 'heinous' Syria Kurdish new year attacks
People's Protection Units (YPG) fighters stand on top of a hill at sunset on February 26, 2015, after they retook parts of the town of Tal Hamis, southeast of the city of Qameshli, after six days of clashes with Islamic State (IS) group jihadists in Syria's Hasakeh province.

UNITED NATIONS, United States, March 21, 2015 (AFP) - UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Friday condemned "heinous" attacks that killed and injured dozens at Kurdish new year celebrations in northeastern Syria.

A suicide bomber killed more than 33 people gathered for new year celebrations in the province of Hasakeh, while dozens more were wounded in another blast at a separate feast.

"Initial reports suggest that two separate bombings killed and injured up to 100 persons, including women and children," the UN secretary general said in a statement following the attacks.

"These heinous attacks took place during a holiday that is customarily a time for Kurdish communities to come together to share their hopes for the new year." There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the suicide bomber could have been a member of the Islamic State group.

Ban said he "takes note" of the allegations that IS jihadists were behind the attack, and condemned the militant group.

"The terrorist organisation's despicable agenda includes efforts to incite sectarian and ethnic division among Syria's diverse communities. It must not be allowed to succeed," he said.

Hasakeh is a strategic province near Syria's borders with Iraq and Turkey.

The Islamic State group controls several parts of the province, while fighters from the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) hold the provincial capital, which is also called Hasakeh.

In separate attacks Friday, more than 70 Syrian government forces were killed when Islamic State militants attacked checkpoints and other positions in the central Homs and Hama provinces.

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