Turkish army forces (R), and Kurdish YPG fighters (L). Photo: Jinda Ibrahim/ARA News
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TEL ABYAD – At least nine civilians were killed and several others wounded on Wednesday in a Turkish artillery attack. Local sources reported that the shelling occurred in Kahila, a town near the Syrian border city of Tel Abyad.
Turkey’s military reportedly bombarded the Kurdish-populated town with heavy artillery.
“Six children and three women lost their lives under the Turkish bombardment,” eyewitnesses told ARA News. The witnesses also said that more than a dozen civilians were injured.
The attack also caused massive damage to civilian houses in Kahila.
In a statement, the leadership of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) condemned the Turkish attack. The YPG said that Turkey is targeting Kurdish areas in northern Syria “to undermine the Kurdish progress against ISIS.”
“They [Turkish forces] are targeting innocent civilians under the pretext of combatting terrorism. However, we’ll not allow Turkey to continue those violations at the border. We are ready to respond and we’ll do whatever it takes in order to stop this offensive against our people,” the YPG said.
The Kurdish YPG and their allies from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), captured the strategic city of Tel Abyad in June 2015. The conquest of Tel Abyad was disconcerting for ISIS militants due to its location. Tel Abyad is only 90 km from Raqqa –the group’s de facto capital in Syria.
Since ISIS was driven from Tel Abyad, Kurdish positions have been exposed on two fronts. The YPG has to guard against Turkey’s military on one hand, and ISIS on the other.
Speaking to ARA News, YPG officer Habun Osman accused the Turkish government of supporting ISIS in their campaign to retake Tel Abyad. Osman believes that the Turkish government desires “to assist the terror group [and] export its oil to the black market via Turkey.”
“Before the YPG-SDF forces retook Tel Abyad from ISIS in early 2015, the terror group used to export its oil tankers through this border crossing to the black market,” Osman said.
“When ISIS was in control here, Turkey never attacked the group’s positions. Now that Tel Abyad is under Kurdish control, the Turkish Army continues to attack the area,” the YPG officer told ARA News.
This is not the first time Turkey has targeted Syrian Kurds. According to military sources, the Turkish Army has launched more than 22 attacks on Kurdish positions in northern Syria. Most of the attacks targeted YPG-held areas in Aleppo and Raqqa Governorates.
Reporting by: Hozan Mamo
Source: ARA News