Turkey ramps up Syria offensive with deadly bombings
DOZENS of people were killed in Turkish bombardments in Syria as Ankara ramped up its unprecedented offensive against the Islamic State group and Kurdish militants.
Ankara said on August 28 it had killed 25 Kurdish “terrorists” and insisted the army was doing everything possible to avoid civilian casualties.
But the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 40 civilians were killed in Turkish shelling and air strikes on two areas held by pro-Kurdish forces in northern Syria, the first report of significant civilian casualties in Turkey’s operation.
The bombardments came after Ankara suffered its first military fatality in the two-pronged offensive against IS and the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units militia.
Addressing a rally in the southern city of Gaziantep, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to combat the jihadists and the US-backed Kurdish fighters “with the same aggression and determination”.
“We will make any kind of contribution to the work to clear Daesh [the IS] from Syria,” Mr Erdogan told thousands of flag-waving supporters in the city where a suicide bomber suspected of IS links blew himself up at a wedding party last weekend.
Regarding “the PYD (Democratic Union Party] terror group in Syria, we have just the same determination”, Mr Erdogan said, referring to the main pro-Kurdish party in northern Syria and its YPG militia.
Turkish forces ramped up their offensive against pro-Kurdish forces near a town wrested back from the IS by Turkish-backed Arab rebels.
The operations took Turkey deeper inside Syria, into an area where the Kurdish forces that control much of the border had begun to expand.
Jeb el-Kussa is located 14 kilometres (8.7 miles) south of Jarabulus, the IS border stronghold which Turkishbacked Arab rebels captured on the first day of the incursion. –