Several people wounded by Turkish airstrikes on Syrian Kurdish city of Afrin
AFRIN, Syrian Kurdistan (Kurdistan 24) – Five Syrian civilians were wounded on Saturday in a Turkish bombardment on the outskirts of Syria’s Kurdish-held northwest city of Afrin, local authorities there said.
In an online statement which Kurdistan 24 received a copy of, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)—which the People’s Protection Units (YPG) is a leading component—said the Turkish army launched airstrikes on some residential areas of Afrin and wounded five people.
“The Turkish authorities began using the Turkish army in a war of aggression against our people in Afrin targeting civilian neighborhoods,” the YPG statement read.
Additionally, Hevi Mustafa, a top member of the civilian administration that governs Afrin, said several wounded people had arrived at hospitals.
Some analysts say Turkey has launched this war against the Syrian Kurdish forces in a move likely to cause tensions with the US.
The airstrikes targeted Rajo town west of Afrin city in addition to Sherawa town, Shelon Mountain, and Sharra town, the SDF statement said.
The warplanes also shelled a camp for Syria’s Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the eastern countryside of Afrin causing damage to the site and wounding several people, the SDF added.
The YPG has been a key part of the battle against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and has been backed by the United States.
Turkey, which stands against the YPG and believes it has links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), has been threatening to clear Kurdish fighters from Afrin and Manbij.
Turkey’s military plans seem to have been accelerated by an announcement from the US that it will help the SDF build a new “border security force” to prevent the return of IS.
The YPG and SDF deny any terrorist links, a claim backed by the US government.
However, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the border force a “terror army.”
The SDF and their leading force, the YPG, vowed to defend any attacks on the areas under their control.
“If attacked, we will have no choice but to defend ourselves and our people, but we state in front of the world that we harbor no hostile intent toward Turkey and would only take measures in our own defense in the event of hostile operations against our people,” the SDF statement read.
The SDF said the attacks and any threats by Turkey on their areas would serve IS.
“The sudden and unjustified threats of offensive operations from Turkey into Afrin, Syria, threatens to breathe new life into IS,” the statement noted.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany