Turkish airstrikes killed 20 security personnel after bombing a police training centre in Rojava, north-east Syria (NES). It’s part of Turkey‘s latest airstrikes against the Kurdish-led semi-autonomous region that have hit civilian and military sites.
20 dead, 50 wounded
According to Kurdish authorities, Turkey has bombed sites in the area since 5 September. It has hit civilian and military targets and infrastructure, causing widespread casualties. Monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Turkey had killed 20 people and wounded around 50 more. The people were at a training centre belonging to Kurdish internal security forces when a Turkish warplane targeted it.
Kurdish security acknowledged the strike, saying that “a number of our forces were killed and others wounded”. Agence France-Presse (AFP) said that authorities in the area have called for blood donations, while witnesses said that hospitals were full of casualties.
Meanwhile, Rojava Information Centre reported further airstrikes elsewhere in the region:
📌Further airstrikes on Odeh and Gerdahol oil fields, Tirbespi, injuring 1 civilian, Wasel Hassan al-Muhammad
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📌Shelling along the M4 Strip, Shehba and Manbij contact lines, as well as Amude, Kobane, and Derik border area
— Rojava Information Center (@RojavaIC) October 9, 2023
Turkey allegedly destroys essential infrastructure
The 9 October airstrikes represent the fourth day of bombing by the Turkish state. The country’s defence ministry said on 6 October that it was launching a new wave of air strikes against Kurdish targets in NES in retaliation for a bombing attack in Ankara. By that evening, it claimed to have hit 15 Kurdish targets in northern Syria “with the maximum amount” of ammunition.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the Kurdish-led army for the area, said that eight civilians were among the 15 people confirmed killed in the first two days of Turkey’s strikes. However, by 7 October one reporter said Turkey’s bombing had wiped out essential amenities in NES:
— Jamal Balî (@Jamal_Bali7) October 7, 2023
And on 8 October, SDF general commander Mazloum Abdî said Turkey’s attacks had hit 145 locations including schools and hospitals:
During the past 72 hours, Turkey targeted more than 145 locations in our safe region, including power stations, water and energy facilities, hospitals, and schools.
Turkish recent attack directly aimed at undermining the efforts and capabilities of the AANES with hostile…
— Mazloum Abdî مظلوم عبدي (@MazloumAbdi) October 8, 2023
Meanwhile, a coalition of Kurdish women’s organisations issued a public statement to the UN to “take responsibility” and stop Turkey’s attacks:
On behalf of women’s movements & organizations in NES, we have sent an open letter to Secretary-General & various United Nations bodies calling on them to take responsibility & stop Turkey’s current attacks, which are contrary to international law.https://t.co/eJIrFrWCrX
— Kongra Star Women's Movement Rojava (@starrcongress) October 9, 2023
Turkey stepped up cross-border air raids against Kurdish targets in NES and northern Iraq in retaliation for a bombing in Ankara that injured two policemen on 1 October. A branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) claimed responsibility for the incident. It was the first such attack to hit the Turkish capital since 2016, though a similar bombing in Istanbul in November 2022 also led to Turkish airstrikes.
Turkey is a member of NATO. UEFA is about to hand the Euro 2032 football tournament to the country as a joint-host with Italy. And, despite a momentary halt in 2019 on arms sales over its conduct in Syria, the UK is a major arms supplier to Turkey.
Despite committing acts that amount to war crimes, the Global North continues backing Turkey. And the latest round of airstrikes is a very brutal reminder of that complicity.
Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse
Featured image via France24/YouTube
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