SDF says attacks by Turkey and Turkish-backed groups increasing

“Turkish attacks against civilians in Ain al-Issa and Derik villages continue despite Russian and US [ceasefire] agreements with Turkey.”

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The media center of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Friday said attacks by the Turkish army and affiliated groups have recently increased in northeast Syria.

“Artillery and mortar shells targeted the people in particular and inflicted a lot of material damages to the property of civilians in the area, intending to empty the area of its residents,” the SDF said.

“Many villages near the M4 international road were bombed by the mercenaries of the Turkish occupation army over the past three days, especially along Ain al-Issa line,” it added, noting that “flights of reconnaissance and warplanes accompanied the bombing.”

“In the early hours of October 21 morning, a group of mercenaries of the Turkish occupation army tried to infiltrate Ain al-Issa, and clashes broke out in the vicinity of Saida village.” The incident resulted in the killing of ten “mercenaries” and the wounding of several others.

On October 16, an eight-year-old child, Hatam Zedan Alkhel, was injured in an alleged Turkish artillery fire near Ain al-Issa. He later passed away from his wounds.

Four days later, a suspected Turkish drone strike killed two civilians near Derik, an area near the Syrian-Turkish border.

The increase in Turkish attacks comes just over a year after Ankara launched an offensive in northern Syria on October 9, 2019, leading to the deaths of dozens of civilians and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of others.

A ceasefire deal was first reached between the US and Turkey on October 17 of that year and then another between Russia and Turkey days later on October 22 that stopped Turkish expansion attempts.

Despite this, Turkey continues drone strikes and shelling on positions held by the SDF, the US-led Coalition’s leading partner in Syria in the fight against the Islamic State terror group.

Thomas McClure, a Syria-based researcher at the Rojava Information Centre (RIC), told Kurdistan 24 earlier that Turkish ceasefire violations have been ongoing every day over the past year.

“The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) says it has documented at least 800 ceasefire violations, including attacks, bombings, artillery strikes and drone strikes,” McClure noted.

David Eubank, leader of the humanitarian group known as the Free Burma Rangers (FBR), who is in Syria now, told Kurdistan 24 that the situation near Ain al-Issa was quiet after multiple attacks.

“There was another Mortar attack here in Ain Issa an hour ago, but no casualties,” he said. However, Eubank noted, that five SDF fighters and three civilians were wounded in an attack a day before.

Aldar Xelil, a senior member of the Democratic Union Party (PYD)—the leading component of the Syrian Democratic Council, the SDF's political wing—on Thursday criticized the international community.

“Turkish attacks against civilians in Ain al-Issa and Derik villages continue despite the Russian and US [ceasefire] agreements with Turkey. This is a clear message from Turkey to the entire world that it doesn’t care about anything.“

“Despite all these (mutual) understandings, Turkey keeps continuing its war and extermination; it wants to openly say to the world that it does what it wants.”

Xelil added that the international community's silence is “nothing but evidence of support” for Turkey.

The United States earlier condemned the death of a Syrian child near Ain Issa on October 17 and urged all parties to “protect civilians.”

The statement did not blame Turkey or Turkish-affiliated groups for the attack.

Editing by Khrush Najari