Turkish drone strike kills 4 in northeast Syria: monitor

A Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drone flies at Gecitkale military airbase near Famagusta in the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on December 16, 2019. - The Turkish military drone was delivered to northern Cyprus amid growing tensions over Turkey's deal with Libya that extended its claims to the gas-rich eastern Mediterranean. The Bayraktar TB2 drone landed in Gecitkale Airport in Famagusta around 0700 GMT, an AFP correspondent said, after the breakaway northern Cyprus government approved the use of the airport for unmanned aerial vehicles. It followed a deal signed last month between Libya and Turkey that could prove crucial in the scramble for recently discovered gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean. (Photo by Birol BEBEK / AFP)

A Turkish drone strike on Tuesday killed at least four people in a northeast Syrian city held by Kurdish forces, the latest in a series of attacks, Turkish Minute reported, citing Agence France-Presse.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the attack struck near a hospital in Qamishli, the de facto capital of a semi-autonomous Kurdish administration that runs large parts of the country’s northeast.

The four victims, all affiliated with the administration, were killed while they dug trenches near Turkey’s border in anticipation of a new offensive that Ankara has threatened to launch since May, the monitor said.

Ankara has conducted successive military offensives in Syria. Most have targeted Kurdish militants that Ankara links to a group waging a decades-long insurgency against it.

Turkey has stepped up its drone strikes in Kurdish-controlled areas of Syria since a July 19 summit with Iran and Russia failed to greenlight a fresh offensive, according to Kurdish officials and the Observatory.

A Turkish drone strike on Qamishli at the weekend killed four people, including two siblings, the Observatory said.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces have counted at least 13 of their members killed in several Turkish attacks since July 19.

Syria’s conflict that began in March 2011 has killed nearly half a million people and displaced half the country’s pre-war population.

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