Turkish drone targets Kurdish security forces in rare Kobani attack

"There was only material damage, to the vehicles at the door of the center. No Asayish members were injured or killed."

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A Turkish drone on Monday night launched a strike against a Kurdish Internal Security Forces (Asayish) checkpoint in Kobani causing material damage.

“At 3:10 a.m., the main Asayish headquarters in the Euphrates region was targeted,” an unnamed security source told the Syria-based Rojava Information Centre (RIC).

“Two bombs were dropped. One exploded at 3:10 a.m. and one at 3:45 a.m., both close to the main door of the HQ. There was only material damage, to the vehicles at the door of the center. No Asayish members were injured or killed,” the Asayish source in Kobani told RIC.

“Half an hour ago, a Russian delegation came to visit the site of the explosion. They believe this was not an armed drone missile strike [from a Turkish military drone], but small bombs dropped from a [commercial] drone – nonetheless, the Russians believe Turkey was responsible.”

Russians have been based in the Kobani region since November 2019 after US troops withdrew despite the historical cooperation between the Americans and the Kurds during the resistance against the so-called Islamic State in 2014.

During Turkey’s so-called “Peace Spring” operation that was launched on Oct. 9, 2019, Turkish armed forces shelled near positions held by the US military on Mistenur Hill, outside Kobani. Positions belonging to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were also shelled.

As a result, civilians in Kobani fled to nearby towns fearing a possible Turkish ground attack.

After Turkey’s intervention into northeastern Syria, Russia and the US reached separate ceasefire deals with Ankara, which allowed it to control the area between Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain.

Moreover, in mid-October 2019, senior US officials said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had assured US President Donald Trump that he would not attack Kobani.

The Russian-Turkish deal involves the SDF withdrawing its forces up to 30 kilometers from the Turkish-Syrian border and joint Turkish-Russian patrols.

On Monday, the Russian military police and the Turkish army also carried out joint patrols west of the city of Kobani.

Thomas McClure, a Syria-based researcher at RIC, said the bombing in Kobani was rare.

“Kobani region borders the contact line to the east but Kobani city didn’t see any attacks since the opening weeks of the war,” McClure told Kurdistan 24.

“Kobani city is more busy than ever, housing thousands of IDPs who fled Turkey’s 2019 invasion in addition to its original population, who have mostly returned following significant displacement during the invasion.”

After Turkey’s cross-border operation, Kobani has been more isolated although civilians have returned. “It’s connected to the rest of North and East Syria by a single road adjacent to the Turkish-held areas, which face attacks from Turkish-backed forces on a regular basis,” McClure said.

Despite the ceasefire deals, Turkish-backed groups have occasionally shelled areas the SDF holds near Ain Issa and Tal Tamr.

On Monday, Turkish forces and Turkish-backed groups reportedly bombed the villages of Hoshan and al-Dibis in the countryside of Ain Issa to the north of Raqqa.

SDF officials and civilians fear Kobani could still be a target for a possible Turkish attack in the future because the city was a global symbol in the fight against the Islamic State.

Read More: Fear, uncertainty persists in legendary city of Kobani that resisted ISIS

“Further Turkish operations are expected post-coronavirus, and Kobani is one of the Kurdish-majority population centers in the firing line,” McClure added.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany