Kurdish female fighter’s likely suicide attack in Syria kills Turkish troops
A female Kurdish fighter has reportedly carried a suicide bomb attack on Turkish military forces in Syria, the New York Times reported on Sunday.
The grenade attack is believed to have killed two Turkish soldiers and destroyed an army attack.
#YPJ female fighter Avesta Khabur blew herself up to stop Turkish forces assault on Hemmam village in #Afrin region, killing several Turkish soldiers and destroying a battle tank. pic.twitter.com/fPCUpV6jBx— SMM Syria (@smmsyria) January 28, 2018
The 20-year-old woman was identified as Zuluh Hemo and had fought under the name Avesta Habur, according to the newspaper, citing a statement from her military organization, the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ), part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
“If confirmed, it would be the first case of a suicide attack by the Kurds against Turkey’s forces in Syria since its ground troops crossed the border earlier this month,” the paper reported.
A 20-year-old fighter, Avesta Khabur, with the Kurdish YPJ approached a Turkish tank and detonated explosives, killing herself, destroying the tank and killing Turkish soldiers in an attempt to halt their offensive in Hemame, Afrin canton. pic.twitter.com/rDDJY3tETX— Rudaw English (@RudawEnglish) January 28, 2018
Hemo is believed to have thrown the grenade down the turret of the tank. This had led the independent Syrian Observatory for Human Rights to believe that it was not an intended suicide attack.
In a statement cited by the New York Times, Hemo’s unit referred to her as a heroine.
“The heroine Avesta attacked the tank and blew herself up with the tank.” It also called her “a model of free Kurdish women.”
The attack, however, was not confirmed by US-led coalition forces in Syria and Iraq, which are allied to the SDF.
Turkish forces have launched a military offensive against Kurdish YPG fighters in Syria’s northwestern region of Afrin, opening a new front in the nearly seven-year-old Syrian war.
Turkey, which has battled a decades-old insurgency in its mainly Kurdish southeast, considers the Syrian Kurdish YPG - along with their female component, the YPJ - which controls Afrin to be a terrorist group whose growing power on its southern border threatens Turkish security.