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Syria crisis

Turkish airstrike on Syria border post kills 11: War monitor

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A Turkish airstrike on a Syria border post run by regime forces killed 11 Tuesday, following an overnight flare-up between Ankara’s forces and Kurdish fighters that control the area, a war monitor said.

“Eleven fighters were killed in a Turkish airstrike that hit a Syrian regime outpost... near the Turkish border,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, without specifying if the victims were affiliated with the Damascus government or Kurdish forces.

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Syrian regime forces have deployed in areas controlled by Kurdish fighters near the border with Turkey as part of agreements intended to stem cross-border offensives by Ankara targeting Kurdish forces it views as terrorists.

They have taken up positions in border regions near the Kurdish-held town of Kobani where Tuesday’s strike took place.

The raid followed overnight clashes between Ankara’s forces and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces west of Kobani, according to the Observatory.

As part of the escalation, Kurdish forces struck inside Turkish territory, killing one soldier, according to Turkey’s defense ministry.

“Thirteen terrorists were neutralized” in retaliatory attacks by Ankara inside Syria, the ministry said, adding operations were ongoing in the region.

Turkey has launched a series of cross-border offensives targeting Kurdish forces and the ISIS terrorist group since 2016, but such operations have rarely resulted in the killing of Syrian regime fighters.

If regime forces are confirmed to be among those killed on Tuesday, the attack would mark one of the largest escalations since Ankara and Damascus traded attacks in 2020 following a Syrian regime strike that killed 33 Turkish soldiers in the northwestern province of Idlib.

Turkey has stepped up its attacks in Kurdish-controlled areas of Syria since a July 19 summit with Iran and Russia failed to green-light a fresh offensive, according to Kurdish officials and the Observatory.

The SDF, the Syrian Kurds’ de facto army, has since counted at least 13 of its members killed in several Turkish attacks.

Turkey has fervently opposed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, backing opposition groups calling for his removal and opening its doors to refugees.

But last week, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called for reconciliation between the Syrian government and the opposition.

Cavusoglu’s comments had been seen as an apparent easing of Ankara’s long-standing hostility toward al- Assad’s government and enraged the Syrian opposition and radical groups.

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