Systematic Islamic State car bombings wreak destruction in north Aleppo

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Six Islamic State (IS) car-bomb engineers were accidentally blown apart while fitting a car with explosives to strike the rebel-held town of Marea in north Aleppo, the latest in a month-long campaign to break the Marea resistance using multiple car-bombings, reported opposition news site Zaman al-Wasl on Monday. “IS struck Marea with more than 23 car bombs in less than a month,” Madar Najjar, a commander in al-Jabha a-Shamiya, one of the factions ruling Marea, told reporters during a press conference on the plight of Aleppo’s civilians, held by the Syrian National Coalition in the north Aleppo countryside last week. The phrase “car bomb” belies the variety of vehicles IS rigs in specialized factories with several tons of conventional and improvised explosives–trucks, armored personnel carriers, tanks and bulldozers. IS vehicle-borne IEDs are launched in kamikaze attacks against enemy positions, or left as booby traps inside rebel-held cities and towns. They therefore serve a dual purpose: to pulverize their adversary’s defensive lines, and to terrorize civilians. Marea has witnessed both devices. This past August, IS detonated a suicide car bomb against Marea in a failed attempt to storm the city, having days earlier snuck a car bomb inside to blow up the town’s rebel headquarters.