ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) claimed on Thursday to have killed a commander of the Syrian rebel group Faylaq al-Sham and 18 other fighters in acts of sabotage in the countryside of Afrin the day before.
In a statement, the group said the attacks, carried out in the areas of Biye and Kefr Nebo in Afrin’s Sherawa district, were revenge for two YPG fighters that were killed in the village of Biye on Aug. 9.
Since Turkish troops and allied Syrian rebels groups took control of Afrin on March 18 in a campaign termed Operation Olive Branch, the YPG said it would continue to target forces backed and settled there by Turkey.
"The consecutive actions that had been carried out to avenge 2 our comrades martyred in the village of Biye, resulted in a death of 19 terrorists in total, a hitting of 3 military vehicles and a motorcycle and confiscation of two AK-47 (Kalashnikov) weapons and ammunition," the statement read.
The YPG said an attack killed an al-Sham Division (Faylaq al-Sham) commander named Khaled al-Abeed and also targeted the Hamza brigade in the Biye village of Afrin’s Sherawa district.
Afterward, it said, the Turkish army shelled the villages of Bashemre, Birj Qeys, and Gunde Mezin. "During [the] whole day, unmanned aerial vehicles of the Turkish occupying army were flowing over the area.”
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that explosions caused by Turkish mortars occurred in the countryside of Afrin after YPG sleeper cells killed a commander and three fighters. According to SOHR, YPG cells have killed at least 108 rebels and Turkish soldiers in attacks since March.
On Wednesday, the group said an explosion in Afrin's city center killed two and injured 18 others.
The mysterious group calling itself the Revenge Hawks claimed responsibility for the attack. Another group about which little is known, Wrath of the Olives’ Operations Room, claimed to have killed a Sultan Murad commander named Abu Mohammed al-Domani in an attack on al-Rai district in northeast Aleppo on Tuesday.
The YPG denied involvement in these operations.
“Various armed groups operating under different names are conducting military operations in Afrin and promoting their actions on social media and websites,” the YPG Press office said in an Aug. 22 statement.
“Any other actions that are shared on social media in our name have no relation to us.”
Editing by John J. Catherine