The explosion near the central town of Salamiyeh was caused by explosives left behind by Daesh militants when they controlled the area, said Syrian regime's news agency SANA.

A member of the demining unit works in a minefield on the outskirts of the northern Syrian town of Dabiq, Syria on December 31, 2016.
A member of the demining unit works in a minefield on the outskirts of the northern Syrian town of Dabiq, Syria on December 31, 2016. (Reuters Archive)

A land mine left by Daesh terrorist group has struck a van packed with workers, killing 20, said Syrian regime's news agency SANA. The agency earlier reported that 24 people were killed.

The explosion on Sunday near the central town of Salamiyeh was caused by explosives left behind by the militants when they controlled the area, said SANA. 

A mine exploded in a nearby area earlier this month, killing seven people.

SANA said the workers hit by Sunday's blast were heading out to pick desert truffles.

Daesh has been driven from virtually all the territory it once held in Syria and neighbouring Iraq, but the extremists left behind countless bombs and booby traps, and large areas have yet to be cleared.

Daesh fighters are now cornered by US-backed Syrian forces in a small area near the Iraqi border.

An estimated 300 Daesh terrorists are besieged in the village of Baghouz, hemmed in by the Euphrates River and the US-backed and YPG-dominated SDF, following an intense push since September. 

Thousands of civilians have fled the area held by the terrorists in recent weeks.

The presence of so many civilians — and possibly senior members of the militant group — in Baghouz has surprised the SDF and slowed down the expected announcement of the terrorist group's territorial defeat.

Source: AP