Turkey ramps up Syria of­fen­sive with deadly bomb­ings

The Myanmar Times - - World -

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. –

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