Two Turkish civilians killed by PYD/PKK attacks as Turkish military operation going on in Afrin

Photo: Hürriyet

Two Turkish civilian were killed by PYD/PKK attack as Turkish military’s controversial military operation has been going on Afrin province of northern Syria.

Two more rockets fired from Syria have killed a 17-year-old girl, after hitting the Reyhanlı district of Turkey’s Hatay border province on Wednesday. One more person was also wounded in the attack, and health and security personnel were assigned to the scene in the Gültepe neighborhood in the aftermath of the attack.

It was reported that a rocket hit the wall of a house in Gültepe. Following the attack, another rocket hit the same neighborhood, injuring another civilian. The injured civilian were taken to the hospital while police, firefighters, and paramedics rushed to the scene. Two houses and several cars in the neighborhood were damaged.

Meanwhile, a civilian support worker for the Turkish Armed Forces was killed in a terrorist car bomb attack on a military convoy in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province, the Turkish General Staff said late on Wednesday.

According to a report by state-run Anadolu news agency (AA), “Terrorists detonated a vehicle while a Turkish military convoy deployed in Idlib as part of an international agreement to establish de-escalation zones was passing through,” read a statement by the military. It also said one Turkish soldier and another civilian employee were injured in the explosion.

The victim was an employee of the Forestry and Water Affairs Ministry, Minister Veysel Eroğlu said on his Twitter account. “Today, a member of the General Directorate of State Hydraulic Works, Yasin Tanboğa, who joined the Idlib de-escalation force was martyred in an attack on a convoy in the north of Idlib. Mahmut Pakyürek was seriously injured and specialized sergeant Ömer Güneş was injured slightly. We wish God’s mercy for the martyred staff and a speedy recovery for the injured. We wish condolences to his family and to our nation,” read the minister’s post.

The deployment in the northwestern region was launched last October under a deal reached with Russia and Iran during the Syrian peace talks in the Kazakh capital Astana. The establishment of de-escalation zones between Turkey, which backs groups opposed to Syria’s Bashar al-Assad regime, Russia and Iran, who support the regime, was agreed on in May 2017.

Also on Wednesday, one Turkish soldier was killed and another was wounded during combat between the Turkish Armed Forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the eastern province of Ağrı. The private and the specialized sergeant, who were on patrol duty prior to combat, were both immediately taken to the hospital for treatment following the armed conflict with the PKK. The private succumbed to his wounds at the hospital, the report said.

Moreover, at least 63 more PYD/PKK militants have been “neutralized” in Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch in Syria, the Turkish General Staff said on Wednesday. So far, 712 militants have been “neutralized” since the beginning of the operation, said the military in a statement. Turkish authorities often use the word “neutralized” in their statements to imply that the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.

The statement added that Turkish Armed Forces had destroyed 22 more terrorist targets in airstrikes that were carried out overnight.

Pro-Kurdish news sources have claimed that 65 civilian (between them 12 women and 20 children) have been killed and 163 civilians were injured (between them 26 women and 36 children) during Turkish military operation in Afrin in a collaboration with Free Syrian Army (FSA) militants.

Several hundred people, including civilians, have been killed during Turkey’s military operation in Syria’s Afrin, Interfax news agency cited Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as saying on Wednesday.

Furthermore, at least 15,000 people have been displaced since the start of a Turkish military operation in the Syrian city of Afrin, a United Nations report revealed on Tuesday. According to a report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, an estimated 15,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have reportedly arrived in Afrin town and its surrounding communities.

The report added that humanitarian aid is required as civilians in the town “are relying on water trucks to meet their water needs” while the prices of basic commodities have increased due to the area becoming “congested, putting pressure on shops and businesses.” “IDPs are residing in houses belonging to relatives or in unfinished buildings,” the UN report stated.

On Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron warned Turkish government that its operation against Kurdish militias in northern Syria should not become an excuse to invade the country and said he wanted Ankara to coordinate its action with its allies.

“If it turns out that this operation takes a turn other than to fight a potential terrorist threat to the Turkish border and becomes an invasion operation, (then) this becomes a real problem for us,” Macron said in an interview with Le Figaro newspaper published on Wednesday.

Macron said he would bring the issue up again with Turkish autocratic President Tayyip Erdoğan and that the nature of the operation meant there should be discussions between Europeans, but also more widely among allies.

Ankara has described Macron’s statement that Turkey’s ongoing military operation into northern Syria should not turn into an “invasion” as evidence of a “crooked view.” “If France is interpreting this issue as an invasion operation, we need to assess what they have done in Syria accordingly,” Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım told reporters at a joint press conference with visiting Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Wednesday.

“This is a crooked idea from the start. The whole world knows that Turkey is not acting with an invasive mind. They should know it too,” Yıldırım said.

On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch along with the FSA to clear PYD/PKK and allegedly ISIL terrorists from Afrin. According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region as well as “to protect Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty.”

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