Unprecedented Turkish escalation on NE Syria causes casualties

QAMISHLI, Syria (North Press) – Turkey escalated shelling of contact lines in northeastern Syria during the recent 24 hours, leading to a huge wave of displacement and claiming the lives of civilians, including children, in addition to targeting posts of government forces.

Intensive shelling and displacement waves

At midnight of August 16, the first Turkish shell fell on the village of Tel Jernek, west of the town of Amuda in the western countryside of the city of Qamishli, northeastern Syria, and then the shelling expanded to reach the village of Hamdon in the same countryside.

After Turkish forces fired eight shells at the above mentioned areas, residents were obliged, out of fear, to flee out.

Hours before, Turkish artillery targeted the village of al-Ibrahimiya in the town of Zirgan (Abu Rasin), north of Hasakah Governorate, with four shells.

Syriac Military Council, affiliated with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), told North Press that the Turkish forces fired, at about 5:30 am, two shells at the two Christian predominant villages of Shalhoumiya and Rotan in the countryside of Tirbe Spiye (Qahtaniya) in eastern countryside of Qamishli.

On the same day, several areas in the city of Kobani, northern Syria, five villages in the countryside of Tel Tamr, north of Hasakah, and villages in the northern countryside of Aleppo Governorate were shelled by Turkish forces.

Five artillery shells hit the neighborhood of Martyr Payman in Kobani, coinciding with intensive artillery shelling on the villages of Boban, Seftek, Ashma and Silem in the western countryside of Kobani, displacing residents towards the city.

As a result of the escalation, a shell exploded on the roof Kobani Hospital, forcing patients and their companions to flee the hospital fearing that it [shelling] could be repeated.  

Due to the intensive shelling, the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) in Euphrates Region warned residents Kobani of leaving their houses and moving around.

The AANES was first formed in 2014 in the Kurdish-majority regions of Afrin, Kobani and Jazira in northern Syria following the withdrawal of the government forces. Later, it was expanded to Manbij, Tabqa, Raqqa, Hasakah and Deir ez-Zor after the SDF defeated ISIS militarily there.  

One of the main targeted points of the Turkish artillery was the town of Abu Rasin (Zirgan), as an agricultural center there was targeted twice in minutes, causing displacement.

In addition, the Turkish forces, stationed in the village of Tokhar, shelled inhabited villages in the north of Manbij with mortar shells.

Attacking military posts

On Tuesday at night, a Turkish drone hit the village of Senjeq Sadoun in the countryside of Amuda, claiming the lives of four fighters of Self-Defense Forces (compulsory recruitment), affiliated with the SDF. 

During the Turkish escalation, a Turkish drone targeted a military post of Syrian government forces in the western countryside of Kobani, more than once, killing three and wounding six soldiers of the government forces.

The Turkish warplanes launched nine raids, attacking a post of the government forces in village of Jareqli, west of Kobani.

A military source of the government forces said, “Any Turkish aggression against our forces will be immediately responded.”

Additionally, the Internal Security Forces of North and East Syria (Asayish) in Zirgan was also targeted with four mortars.

Civilian casualties

North Press correspondent said that the Turkish shelling of Kobani resulted in destroying a car there.

In addition, in Kobani, Abdo Muhammad Haji, 14, lost his life and Jihad Sheikho, 2, Abdo Darwish, 35, Marwa Muhammad Hamo, 48, and Ali Ahmad Ibo, 20, were injured.

Due to the Turkish shelling, the number of the wounded people in Kobani reached eight, according to the Asayish.

In the northern countryside of Aleppo, Ahmad Imad Ibish, 14, an IDP from the village of Baselhaya in Sherawa district, south of Afrin, was injured due to the shelling.

On Wednesday, the abovementioned areas witnessed a state of calmness after 24 hours of almost continuous shelling, causing casualties and material damage.

Reporting by Rahaf Youssef