Turkish drone kills 4 in Syria: Kurdish forces

Turkey's armed drone Bayraktar TB2

A drone strike near the border with Turkey late on Friday killed four members of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the autonomous Kurdish administration in northeastern Syria said, Agence France-Presse reported.

Turkey carries out regular drone attacks in areas controlled by the Kurdish administration in Syria and has stepped up its strikes in recent weeks.

The US-backed SDF led the battle that dislodged Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters from the last pieces of territory they controlled in Syria in 2019.

Ankara considers the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which dominates the SDF, to be an offshoot of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), designated as a terrorist group by Turkey and much of the international community.

A press release from the SDF said Friday’s drone attack targeted a village in the Amuda region, “making martyrs of four fighters in a self-defense group.”

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), which has a vast network of sources on the ground, said the drone had attacked a training camp in Hasakeh province, killing four SDF members and wounding eight.

SOHR said it was the second strike by a Turkish drone in Hasakeh in 24 hours after an attack on Thursday killed three SDF fighters when it targeted their vehicles near the border.

On June 20, a Turkish drone strike killed three employees of the autonomous Kurdish administration.

Since the start of the year, Turkish drone strikes have killed 48 people in Kurdish-held areas, including 10 civilians and 35 SDF members or allied fighters, according to SOHR figures.

Since 2016, Turkey has also carried out successive ground operations to expel Kurdish forces from border areas of northern Syria.

Syria’s 12-year war broke out after President Bashar al-Assad’s repression of peaceful anti-government demonstrations in 2011 escalated into a deadly conflict that pulled in foreign powers and global jihadists.

The conflict has killed more than half a million people and displaced millions.

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