Turkish patrol kills protester amid shaky truce in northeast Syria

Turkish army armoured vehicles arrive near the Turkish town of Idil at the Turkey-Syria border on Friday. (Photo: AP)

A Syrian protester was killed after he was run over by a Turkish military vehicle conducting a joint patrol in northeastern Syria with Russian troops Friday, a Kurdish spokesman and Syria war monitor said.

The man was among a group of residents who were pelting the convoy with shoes and stones.

Videos circulating online showed the group trying to mount one of the vehicles and then the men shouting, apparently after the man is run over.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the man was run over in the village of Sarmasakh near the border by a Turkish vehicle during the third joint patrol under a cease-fire deal brokered by Moscow that forced Kurdish-led fighters to withdraw from areas bordering Turkey.

The patrols are aimed at allowing Turkey to ensure that the Syrian Kurdish groups have evacuated the border zone. The agreement with Russia - and a separate one with the US - halted the Turkish invasion of Syria last month that targeted groups it considers a security threat for their links to a Kurdish insurgency inside Turkey.

Other videos from the area showed men, women and children pelting armored vehicles as they drove near a cemetery before speeding away.

The pelting of the Turkish-Russian patrol occurred east of the border town of Qamishli, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory, an opposition war monitor, and the Kurdish Hawar news agency.

There was no immediate comment from the Russian or Turkish military about the incident.

Turkey’s Defense Ministry said the troops were patrolling a region between Qamishli and Derik, east of the Euphrates River. It said the patrols were being supported by drones, but provided no further details.

An Associated Press journalist saw four Turkish armored personnel carriers cross into Syria to join the Russian forces.

Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, tweeted that Turkish troops fired tear gas on protesters in Derik, injuring 10 people. The town is controlled by SDF and American forces, but the Turkish troops were passing through on the patrol.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan complained this week that Syrian Kurdish fighters were still present in areas along the border, despite the separate agreements with Russia and the US.

Erdogan also said Turkish troops were being attacked by some Syrian Kurdish fighters from areas they had retreated to, adding that Turkey would not “remain a spectator” to these assaults.

The UN said on Friday that 92 civilians have died so far as a result of Turkey's incursion into northern Syria. Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the UN human rights office, said the death toll was based on “verified incidents” that included to November 5.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:56 - GMT 06:56
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