HRW urges Turkey to investigate airstrikes that killed or injured civilians in Syria

Smoke billows from the Babasi oil facility in the countryside of al-Qahtaniya in Syria's Kurdish-controlled northeastern Hasakeh province on October 6, 2023 following a Turkish airstrike. (Photo by Delil souleiman / AFP)

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Friday Turkey should investigate the harm done to civilians in its Oct. 5-10 aerial campaign against Kurdish militants in Syria, Turkish Minute reported.

Turkish drone strikes resulted in at least 11 civilian deaths and numerous injuries in Syrian Kurdish areas, HRW said, citing the Rojava Information Center, a volunteer media and research organization in northeast Syria.

The HRW report recounted the harrowing experience of Rakza Salih Fawaz and her daughter, who were severely injured during the strikes while working in a cotton field.  HRW blamed the Turkish Armed Forces for the apparent lack of necessary precautions to prevent civilian casualties.

On Oct. 5 Turkey launched a bombing campaign in northern Iraq and Syria’s northeast after the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) claimed responsibility for a bombing near government buildings in Ankara that injured two police officers. Turkey claimed the attackers came from and were trained in Syria.

The semi-autonomous Kurdish administration has denied the claim and says dozens of people, including security personnel and civilians, have been killed in the Turkish attacks.

The strikes on more than 150 locations in north and east Syria in the governorates of al-Hasakeh, Raqqa and Aleppo killed dozens of people including civilians and damaged civilian structures, HRW said in a previous report, citing civic groups in the region.

Human Rights Watch called for immediate investigations into the incidents and urged Turkey to provide compensation to the victims or their families.

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