Sunday, October 1, 2023

Syria: 14 fighters killed by Kurdish group in north

At least 14 fighters from an area controlled by pro-Turkish factions were killed by a Kurdish group in northern Syria on Monday, a faction leader and an NGO said.

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Members of the Afrin Liberation Forces group took advantage of factional fighting that broke out after midnight around al-Bab in Aleppo province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH) said.

With artillery support, the Kurdish group entered the area and launched an attack that left “at least 14 dead” and several wounded, all pro-Turkish fighters, reported OSDH director Rami Abdel Rahmane.

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The factions were fighting over territorial issues and influence when the ambush occurred, added the director of the NGO based in the United Kingdom but which has a wide network of sources in Syria.

The faction’s leader confirmed the death toll, but told AFP that the fighters belonged to a formation that had defected from pro-Turkish groups.

The “Afrin Liberation Forces” are made up of Kurdish fighters who were forced to leave the Afrin region of northwestern Syria during a Turkish offensive several years ago, and are now present mainly in Aleppo province (northern ).

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Since 2016, Turkey has launched three offensives on Syrian soil against Kurdish forces in the north, allowing it to control a 120-kilometer-long border strip on the Syrian side.

A 2019 deal brokered by Russia allowed Syrian government forces to deploy along parts of the border area in exchange for Turkey stopping an offensive it had begun.

The peaceful uprising in Syria that degenerated into civil war has left more than half a million dead. Almost half of Syrians are now refugees or displaced.

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