Series of bombings hits northeast Syria; casualties reported
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – In separate incidents, three explosions struck different cities in northeastern Syria on Wednesday, with a number of casualties reported for each attack.
The first of the explosions took place in the Kurdish city of Qamishli, which is located on the Syria-Turkey border. The Syrian government based in Damascus controls part of the city, while the rest is held by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The bombing was due to a vehicle-borne explosive device, a Kurdistan 24 correspondent at the scene reported, and resulted in one injury. Though no group has claimed responsibility, the Islamic State has previously carried out attacks in the city.
On Sunday, one of the last batches of American troops still left in northeastern Syria left Qamishli as angry residents pelted potatoes at their armored vehicles. The move came following an abrupt decision earlier this month by US President Donald Trump to withdraw all forces from the region, paving way for a Turkish military incursion that has resulted in the displacement of close to 300,000 civilians.
A second incident occurred about 120 kilometers southward of Qamishli in the SDF-run town of al-Shadadi. The bombing, which was due to a motorcycle-borne explosive, resulted in the injury of a number of civilians, according to local ANHA agency. The Islamic State has reportedly taken responsibility for this attack.
A third bombing occurred in the town of Suluk, according to Turkish-backed Islamist militia conglomerate, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), who recently took the area from the SDF with Ankara’s military support. Local media could not immediately confirm the FSA claim nor the number of casualties.
The Turkish military campaign has the stated aim of clearing the northern and northeastern part of the country from the Kurdish fighters who make up the leadership of the SDF, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), for its alleged connections with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)—a group that has fought the Turkish state for decades in pursuit of Kurdish rights and autonomy.
Ankara also purports to be resettling up to 3.6 million Syrian refugees in a so-called safe zone it seeks to establish in the cleared regions. Turkey’s strongman leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, negotiated agreements with both the US and Russia, respectively, in that regard.
Editing by Nadia Riva