Eight children killed in Turkish artillery strike in Tal Rifaat: Group
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that at least 11 Kurdish civilians were killed on Monday in a Turkish artillery attack in Aleppo province, including eight children.
The artillery shelling reportedly struck a school building, killing 11 and wounding 21 others. According to local aid organization the Kurdish Red Crescent, at least 10 civilians were killed, including seven children.
Around 170,000 displaced Kurds from Afrin are currently living in Tal Rifaat and its surrounding areas, with limited support. They were displaced to Tal Rifaat following Turkey’s attack on the Afrin region, which led to its occupation in March 2018.
Elham Ahmed, the President of the Executive Committee of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), tweeted a picture of the victims, suggesting that most of these children had also lost their parents during Turkey’s invasion of Afrin.
“They fled to nearby Tal Rifaat seeking refugee from Turkey and its mercenaries. They were killed today by Turkey.”
Sinam Mohamed, the SDC representative in Washington, who is originally from Afrin, also tweeted against the Turkish artillery strike which he asserted killed displaced children from Afrin. “Where can the displaced people of Afrin go to???” he wrote.
In February 2016, Kurdish-backed forces took the town of Tal Rifaat from Islamist rebel groups.
Turkey several times has threatened to launch a cross-border offensive to capture Tal Rifaat. Thus far, Russia and Iran have not allowed Turkey to attack the town.
According to the Russian-Turkish deal reached at the resort city of Sochi on October 22 following Turkey’s cross-border incursion into northern Syria earlier that month, Russia agreed to remove Kurdish fighters from Tal Rifaat and Manbij. Turkey, however, has claimed Kurdish fighters remain in those areas.
Russian forces are still based in Tal Rifaat.
Editing by Nadia Riva