Turkey Attacks Syrian Kurdish Villages, Killing 35 Civilians

Cheryl Sanders
August 30, 2016

Reports said the Sultan Murad group had moved into several villages previously held by Syrian Kurdish fighters as the Turkish-backed force advanced toward Manbij on August 28.

The strikes came as Syrian rebels backed by Turkey clashed with fighters opposed by Ankara at the village of al-Amarna, some 10 km south of the border town of Jarablus that was seized by the Turkey-backed rebels from IS this week.

The SDF, which is spearheaded by the YPG, a Syrian Kurdish militia, has been lauded by both Russian Federation and the West as one of the most effective forces fighting Isis, and has received extensive United States support.

The SOHR said the bombardment targeted an area south of the former ISIL stronghold of Jarablus, which Turkish-led forces captured on the first day of the incursion.

Al Jazeera's Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from Gaziantep on Turkey's border with Syria, said: "The Turkish army has intensified its military operation following the death of a Turkish soldier".

Turkish airstrikes and shelling of predominantly Kurdish positions in northeast Syria has led to civilian casualties, according to representatives of Kurdish-led Syria Democratic Forces (SDF). Vocativ found that the hashtag #TurkeyToStopCivilianSlaying was trending on Sunday in Turkey, as people accused Ankara of invading Syria in "last attempts to save ISIS". "Don't kill innocent (people), fight ISIS", one user posted.

The same hashtag, #TurkeyToStopCivilianSlaying, was also posted by Turkish Twitter users to deny claims that their country has killed civilians in Syria. "This tag is nonsense", one wrote.

The Turkish leader has meanwhile warned that the operation in Syria would continue until terrorists are defeated, naming Kurdish forces as well. Another posted the belief that the Turkish army "only" kills Kurds with the YPG and PKK.

"They are angry, they didn't expect to be asked to withdraw from Manbij, a city where a lot of Kurdish blood was spilled", said Idriss Nissan, a political analyst living in the northern Syrian town of Kobane, which was liberated from Isil by Kurdish forces past year.

Still, Turkey's notorious hostility toward all things Kurdish had numerous locals taking up arms to resist the takeover of their villages, and the Turkish-backed rebels, mostly the Islamist Ahrar al-Sham force, engaged in heavy fighting with the population before ultimately occupying both villages.

Turkey's coming into conflict with the YPG or their Arab allies could further complicate its military campaign, the BBC said.

Others posted visuals of fighting.

But some rebel groups have rejected the plan unless aid passes through opposition-held areas and the ceasefire applies to other areas of Syria under siege.

The Syrian government and its Russian ally are the only ones operating helicopters over Aleppo.

Other reports by iNewsToday