Turkish shelling kills two children, wounds others in Syria's Qamishli
QAMISHLI, Syria (Kurdistan 24) – Two children lost their lives and several civilians were injured by Turkish mortar and artillery bombardment of Syria’s northeastern border city of Qamishli, locals reported on Thursday.
According to the children's parents who spoke to Kurdistan 24, Turkish shelling struck the city's Qudurbeg neighborhood, killing twelve-year-old Mohammad Yousef Hussein and seven-year-old Sara Mohammad Hussein.
Both were transferred to Salam Hospital in Qamishli where medical health professionals attempted to save the lives of the boy, who sustained unspecified severe trauma, and the girl, who had lost a leg in the strike. Both succumbed to their wounds while receiving treatment, the parents said.
A 60-year-old woman was among others wounded in the shelling and was taken to the same hospital.
On Wednesday, the Turkish army along with their allied Syrian opposition armed groups launched an offensive on northern Syria and is expected to continue indefinitely. So far, more than ten civilians have lost their lives and dozens more have been heavily injured in Syrian cities and towns along the border with Turkey.
In a statement on Thursday, the UNHCR warned, “Hundreds of thousands of civilians in northern Syria are now in harm’s way, civilians and civilian infrastructure must not be a target.”
The UN refugee agency stressed the organization's concern for those who are caught in the middle of hostilities, especially with seasonal “lower temperatures across the region” making it even more essential that humanitarian groups will be able to “reach those newly displaced and assist them wherever this is required.”
From the Turkish side, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech on Thursday that his military launched the offensive to create a “safe zone” to secure its southern border and facilitate the return of about two million Syrian refugees now living in Turkey.
Most of those refugees, however, are not from northeast Syria, and even if they are moved voluntarily into that area in large numbers, it will change the demography of multiple Kurdish-majority cities and towns.
Editing by John J. Catherine