Renewed Turkish escalation in northeast Syria; AANES condemns

Damage to the Sa'ida oil station following a Turkish airstrike in al-Hasakah province - May 20, 2024 (Hawar Agency)

Damage to the Sa'ida oil station following a Turkish airstrike in al-Hasakah province - May 20, 2024 (Hawar Agency)


The Turkish bombardment has resumed against military positions of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and infrastructure managed by the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), which is the political umbrella for the SDF, while AANES stated that the shelling resulted in the injury of civilians, including children.

Hawar News Agency reported today, Monday, May 20, that Turkish aircraft targeted the Sa’ida oil station in the countryside of al-Hasakah, destroying parts of the station.

It added that the station itself is considered the second largest oil gathering facility in al-Hasakah province. It had previously been out of service since the end of last year due to similar bombardments.

Yesterday, Sunday, too, Hawar published a video recording which it said was from “intensive” shelling that struck the rural areas of the northern and western city of Manbij, east of Aleppo province, with 95 shells fired causing fires in agricultural lands.

The latest Turkish comment on the shelling in Syria came yesterday, Sunday, as the Turkish Ministry of Defense stated on the “X” platform that its armed forces had neutralized five “terrorists” from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the People’s Protection Units (YPG) found in northern Syria.

For its part, AANES condemned the military escalation in a statement, saying that Turkey had attacked on the morning of last Saturday, the villages of Samouqa, Tal Madhiq, Tal Jijan, and Sayda in northern Aleppo province with howitzers and mortar shells, resulting in the injury of civilians working in agricultural fields, including children.

It also added that the escalation negatively impacts stability directly and also serves as moral support for “terrorists,” with an absent “moral role” of international human rights organizations failing to fulfill their duties towards the inhabitants of the region affected by the bombing.

Turkey accuses the SDF of being an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which is listed on the Turkish and US “terrorism lists,” and it frequently targets locations and individuals in northeastern Syria on accusations of affiliation with the PKK.

At the end of December 2023, Turkey launched an air campaign targeting scattered locations in the city of Ain al-Arab/Kobane, east of Aleppo province, leaving injured, in response to the killing of 12 Turkish soldiers in Iraq, while AANES considered the purpose of the attacks as “destabilizing and creating chaos.”

Turkish targeting of service facilities and infrastructure locations in areas controlled by AANES has been ongoing since last year, following the announcement by Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan, in October 2023, that perpetrators of an attack on the General Directorate of Security in Ankara had come from Syria and received training in Turkey.

During a press conference with the Foreign Minister of Northern Cyprus, the minister added that all infrastructure and energy facilities belonging to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and the People’s Protection Units in Iraq and Syria would be “legitimate targets” henceforth for the Turkish security forces and intelligence elements.

He also urged any third parties to distance themselves from the facilities and elements of the PKK and YPG, stating: “The response of our armed forces to the terrorist attack will be very clear, and the parties involved will deeply regret committing such an act.”



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