Turkish air strikes and artillery attacks have killed at least 20 people and wounded dozens more in a single attack, a group monitoring the Syrian war has said. The strikes took place on Sunday in a village in northern Syria, where Turkey and allied Syrian rebels are fighting Kurdish-allied militias.The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says a total of 50 people had been wounded in the attack on the village of Jub al-Kousa, in an area controlled by militias allied to the Kurdish-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.
The attack comes after Turkey suffered its first loss of life since launching an operation in Syriato drive Isis and Kurdish rebel groups back from border regions.
The Observatory said the bombardment targeted an area south of Jarabulus, a former Isis stronghold, which Turkish-led forces captured on the first day of the offensive, code named “Euphrates Shield”.
The operation started as an effort to push the so-called Islamic State out of the Syrian city of Jarabulus, but officials have been vocal about the twin aim to oust Kurdish militias the government views as terrorists.
It is the first Turkish ground intervention in the Syrian conflict and targeted both Isis and Syrian-Kurdish rebels backed by the US.
ub al-Kousa is located nearly nine miles south of Jarabulus and is controlled by fighters from the area backed by Kurdish forces. Some of the fighters were killed in Sunday’s bombardment, but the number is not yet clear, On Saturday, clashes erupted for the first time between Turkish forces backed by tanks and pro-Kurdish fighters in the town of al-Amarneh, also south of Jarabulus.
The coalition-supported Syrian Democratic Forces’ (SDF) Jarabulus Military Council said air strikes struck homes and killed civilians in the town, calling it “a dangerous escalation that threatens the fate of the region.” Also on Saturday, the Syrian government said it had retaken control of Darayyam, a town near the capital Damascus, after the final rebels left under an agreement ending a four-year siege.