Operation Euphrates Shield: Turkey Kills at Least 25 People in Jarablus
Twenty five Kurdish militants have been killed as Turkey continues to target Kurdish-held areas in Syria, near the border city of Jarablus, the Turkish military says.
However, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 20 people died in strikes on Jeb el-Kussa and another 15 were killed in a separate bombardment near al-Amarneh.
Four local fighters were also killed, the Observatory reported.
It is not yet clear whether the two reports relate to the same incident.
The strikes came on the fifth day of Turkey’s military operation to target ISIS militants and Kurdish militia inside Syria, dubbed Operation Euphrates Shield.
Speaking in Gaziantep, where ISIS militants killed 54 people at a Kurdish wedding last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said “operations against terrorist organizations will continue until the end”.
Turkish tanks and troops backed by Syrian rebels have captured territory from ISIS and clashed with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), a Kurdish militia supported by the United States, which is itself fighting ISIS.
On August 27, Turkey’s military suffered its first fatality of the offensive, when a soldier died in a tank hit by a rocket. Turkish authorities blamed Kurdish militia for the death.
Turkey has been targeting Kurdish-controlled villages around Jarablus, which Turkish-led forces captured from ISIS on the first day of the offensive.
It fears Kurdish fighters gaining an unbroken strip of territory along its border, which would be a huge boost to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a banned Kurdish rebel group fighting for autonomy in Turkey.
Turkey’s operations further complicate the already protracted Syrian civil war. Both Turkey and Kurdish rebels are US allies.
The US has backed Turkey’s anti-ISIS operations in Syria, and both countries have demanded that Kurdish forces withdraw to the east bank of the Euphrates river.