21 dead in Afrin, Turkey hits “targets” in Tal Rifat as an act of retaliation

Defence Redefined
Published on 14/06/2021 at 11:00

The death toll of the attack on districts and a hospital in the town of Afrin in northern Syria, occupied by Syrian Turkish-backed rebels, rose to 21, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Sunday.

Most of the deaths occurred at Al Sifa Hospital, according to the same source. Seventeen of the dead were civilians.

Another 23 people were injured. A doctor, three hospital staff members, two women and two children as well as a guerrilla commander are among the victims, according to the NGO.

According to the Observatory, the attack was carried out by forces close to the Syrian regime from areas under government control.

So far, there has been no reaction from Damascus. Turkey has hit targets in Tal Rifat after blaming the Kurdish armed group People’s Protection Units (YPG) for the attack.

Also read: Syria | Israeli airstrikes on Damascus, Homs, Hama, Latakia – VIDEO

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed Kurdish-Arab alliance, has denied any involvement. According to the official Turkish news agency Anadolu, the Turkish armed forces, with a major presence in parts of northern Syria, have hit “terrorist positions” in Tal Rifat.

Earlier in the day, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said “these cowards will pay for every drop of blood they shed.”

The Kurdish region of Afrin, in the province of Aleppo, was occupied in March 2018 by the Turkish armed forces and its Syrian aides. Ankara’s aim was to oust the YPG from the region, which it describes as a “terrorist” organization, calling it the Syrian branch of the PKK.

In this area, as in all areas occupied by Turkish-backed rebels, targeted killings, attacks and explosions are frequent.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) yesterday condemned the attack on the Afrin hospital, which was “shut down”. It described the hospital as “one of the largest in northern Syria”. However, the blows “completely destroyed the emergency department and the maternity hospital.”

Wolfgang Gresmann, director of the IRC’s “Syrian” division, said it was “the 11th attack on the health sector this year,” apparently referring to attacks in areas of the war-torn country where the NGO operates.

The war in Syria, which broke out in 2011 and became extremely complicated over the years with the involvement of various warring parties – jihadist organizations, guerrilla groups, separatist factions, foreign forces, to name but a few – has cost the lives of some 500,000 people, according to estimates published by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, while turning millions into internally displaced persons and refugees.

Also read: Syria | New anti-tank missile attack on Syrian mercenaries in Turkey – VIDEO





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