20 killed in Turkish shelling in Syria

Cheryl Sanders
August 30, 2016

The Turkish-backed forces first seized the Syrian border town of Jarablus from Islamic State militants before pushing south into areas held by Kurdish-aligned militias.

The YPG said last week its fighters had withdrawn from the Manbij area, saying their presence there could not be used as a pretext for an attack. The army said it was taking all measures to avoid any civilian deaths.

The Saturday statement, citing military sources, comes hours after Kurdish-led forces in northern Syria said Turkish airstrikes had hit their bases near Jarablus, a town seized by Turkey-backed rebels earlier this week.

"For president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, PKK, YPG, ISIL are just different facades of the same group", said Al Jazeera's Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from Gaziantep on Turkey's border with Syria.

Turkey's offensive into Syria began on Wednesday, supporting its rebel allies with Turkish special forces, tanks and warplanes. The U.N. said it has pre-positioned aid ready for delivery into Aleppo, to reach 80,000 people on the rebel side and some on the government side.

It also follows the evacuation of Daraya, a Damascus suburb, as part of a deal struck between the government and rebels after a bombing campaign and siege.

A Turkish soldier was killed by a Kurdish rocket attack late Saturday, the first such fatality in Turkey's ground offensive dubbed Euphrates Shield that began August 24.

The YPG is believed to have fired rockets at two Turkish tanks six or seven kilometers south of Jarablus as Turkish-backed rebels were advancing south, Anadolu said. Other groups which are part of the SDF vowed to support them, calling on the U.S-led coalition to explain the Turkish attacks on allied forces.

Shervan Darwish, a spokesman for the US -backed and Kur. Turkey says the Kurds must withdraw to the east of the nearby Euphrates River.

"At least 20 civilians were killed and 50 others wounded by Turkish artillery fire and air strikes on Sunday morning at Jeb el-Kussa", a village south of Jarabulus, said Rami Abdel Rahman, who runs the Observatory.

Mohammed Khandakani, a hospital volunteer, said one of the injured told him a barrel bomb was dropped in the Bab al-Nairab neighborhood as people paid their condolences for children killed Thursday in an airstrike that left 11 children dead in the same neighborhood. The group blamed Russian and Syrian joint military operations room for the use of such weapons in violation of worldwide law. Turkey still insists they intend to take everything west of the Euphrates away from the Kurds, and the Kurds are still preparing to defend territory the U.S. recently helped them capture from being overrun by the Turkish military. The government denies it uses barrel bombs.

Other reports by iNewsToday