Several civilians, including children, were killed when rockets targeted Afrin city in northwest Syria on Thursday, a conflict monitor reported.
The latest in a spate of attacks, artillery shells were fired “from an area where Kurdish fighters and Syrian regime forces are present,” the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on Thursday.
The attack led to the death of six people, including two children while nearly 30 others were injured, it added, with some civilians sustaining “severe injuries.”
SOHR on Friday raised the death toll to eight, including five children.
Afrin is a Kurdish-majority region in Syria’s northwest. The People’s Protection Units (YPG) took control of the area after regime forces re-deployed to defend Arab-majority areas against rebels at the start of the Syrian uprising in 2011. In 2018, Turkey and its allied Syrian militias seized control of Afrin, forcefully displacing much of the local population and committing what the United Nations has said are possible war crimes against the local population. Turkey has blamed the YPG for several deadly explosions in the city.
The YPG is a Kurdish armed force in northeast Syria. Ankara considers it to be the Syrian extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), named a terrorist group in Turkey. Ankara has used this alleged link as a pretext for multiple military operations across the border into Rojava.
In October 2019, Turkey launched an offensive against Kurdish forces in northeast Syria. Ceasefires were brokered by Moscow and Washington, but the truces are frequently violated.
At least four were killed in a car bombing in Afrin in October.