Turkish air strikes in Syria kill at least 11, war monitor says

Syrian state media says government soldiers were among those killed in the attacks

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Turkish air strikes in northern Syria have killed at least 11 people, including government soldiers, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and a Kurdish media outlet said.

The attacks happened near the northern town of Kobani on the border with Turkey, where US-backed Kurdish fighters and Turkish-backed armed groups have long been at odds with each other.

Syrian state media said on Tuesday that the strikes killed three government soldiers and wounded six.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory said eight people were wounded.

Syrian troops hit Turkish-backed positions in retaliation, Syrian state media said.

Hawar News, the news agency for the semi-autonomous Kurdish areas in Syria, reported that 16 Syrian soldiers were killed, while another Kurdish news agency, North Press Agency, said 22 soldiers were killed.

Discrepancies in casualty figures immediately after attacks are not uncommon in Syria.

The North Press Agency also said the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army patrolled neighbourhoods in the northern city of Azaz after anti-Turkish graffiti was spotted.

Turkish military convoys were sent to several areas in the Syria's north near Aleppo as Turkish aircraft conducted reconnaissance flights over the areas, NPA reported.

Medical staff in Aleppo's countryside were told to “stay alert”.

Turkish-backed Syrian rebel fighters take part in a military parade between the border towns of Qatmah and Azaz in the rebel-held northern part of the Aleppo province, on July 2, 2022. AFP

Turkey’s defence ministry said on Tuesday that 13 suspected Kurdish militants were killed after Turkish artillery retaliated against a deadly attack on a Turkish border post near the town of Birecik. The ministry said operations in the Sanliurfa region were continuing.

Provincial governor Salih Ayhan told Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency that a soldier was killed and four wounded in the attack on the Cicekalan border post.

In a separate announcement on Twitter, the defence ministry said five other Kurdish militants were killed by Turkish artillery systems. It said they were allegedly preparing for an attack on Turkish-controlled areas of northern Syria and had opened “harassment fire” on the region.

Turkey has launched three major cross-border operations into Syria since 2016 and already controls some territories in the north.

Last week, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called for reconciliation among government and opposition forces in Syria, leading to widespread demonstrations in rebel-held areas in Aleppo's countryside.

In March 2020, Turkish drone strikes in Idlib, Syria, killed 19 government soldiers. Reports of the attacks came hours after Turkey shot down two Syrian warplanes.

At the time, Turkey said it had launched a full military operation against President Bashar Al Assad's Russian-backed forces, in response to what it claimed was an attack by the Syrian government on Turkish positions that killed 34 of its soldiers.

Updated: August 17, 2022, 1:16 PM