Rockets hit town on Turkey-Syria border as US talks to Ankara and Rojava

Turkish authorities claim the attack came from Kurdish-controlled northern Syria at a time when Ankara has threatened to invade the region.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – At least two rockets hit the town of Ceylanpinar in the Kurdish province of Sanliurfa in Turkey on the border with Syria on Monday night, wounding five people just hours after US officials conducted talks with officials in Ankara and Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) to address Turkish threats of an invasion.

The Ankara-appointed governor’s office in Sanliurfa said in a statement that the rockets were fired from across the border in Syria at around 10 p.m. local time, hitting a home. Five civilians who were lightly injured in Ceylanpinar (Serekaniye in Kurdish) were taken to hospitals for treatment.

The US-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) called it a "provocative act."

"This provocative act was carried out by unknown people who wish to sow discord and damage stability in the region," said Keno Gabriel, a spokesperson for the SDF.

He stated that the SDF and security forces are currently conducting investigations to find out the source of the shell and the persons associated with the incident.

Security in Serekaniye had arrested a suspect involved in the attack, a Kurdish local media reported citing security sources.

Turkey has been beefing up its military presence along the border for weeks now in preparation of an imminent invasion of Rojava and eastern Syria.

Only hours before, US Central Command (CENTCOM) Commander General Kenneth McKenzie met with Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) commander General Mazlum Abdi to discuss the security situation in the region in the post-Islamic State era.

Read More: Top US commander visits SDF leadership in Syria amid Turkish threats

In Ankara, the US Special Representative for Syria, James Jeffrey, was meeting Turkish officials, including the chief of general staff Hulusi Akar to hear Ankara’s arguments for a Turkish-controlled “safe zone” where the Kurds rule in Syria.

Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu threatened that the Erdogan administration would launch the invasion if Washington and Ankara failed to make progress in accommodating Turkish demands.

Turkey already occupies a large swath of land in northwestern Syria, including the formerly self-ruling Kurdish region of Afrin where 160,000 people were displaced in a campaign of ethnic cleansing. When Turkey began its offensive on Afrin, it cited hundreds of alleged attacks from Afrin, one of the last peaceful parts of Syria until then.

Ankara has repeatedly and loudly made clear it would not tolerate a second “Northern Iraq,” or a second Kurdistan Region in its south.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany