At least four people were killed in a Turkish drone attack in a Kurdish-controlled town in northeast Syria on Tuesday, a Syrian NGO reported.
The drone targeted “people who work for the Kurdish semi-autonomous authority as they were digging trenches near a hospital in Qamishli”, the director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Man (OSDH), Rami Abdel Rahmane.
“At least four of them died,” he added, adding that the hospital was near the border with Turkey, where the Kurds have tightened their security measures since Ankara threatened to carry out a new offensive against them.
Turkey considers that the YPG (People’s Protection Units), the main armed militia of the Kurdish forces which form the hard core of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), are an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which it considers a “terrorist organization”. Between 2016 and 2019, Turkey launched three border offensives against the YPG.
Multiple drone attacks against the Kurds
According to the OSDH and Kurdish officials, Ankara has increased its drone attacks against the Kurds in Syria, since the Tehran summit on July 19 between Iran, Russia and Turkey.
On Saturday, a similar attack targeting a car in Qamishli killed four people, according to the same sources. In late July, the SDF and Kurdish forces reported 13 deaths, including three female commanders, in drone strikes blamed on the Turkish military.
The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been threatening since May to lead an offensive in northern Syria to establish a 30 km security zone on its border. According to experts, however, Ankara did not obtain the desired green light at the tripartite summit in Tehran for a major military operation against the Kurds in northeastern Syria.
Failing that, Ankara launches airstrikes against Kurdish targets, according to Nick Heras, a researcher at the New Lines Institute.
Kurdish forces control most of northeastern Syria, a country fragmented since the war started in 2011 and which has become more complex over the years with the intervention of multiple groups and foreign powers.