Four Syrian-Kurdish officers killed in Turkish drone strike in northern Syria, SDF says
Four members of a Kurdish-led security force in northern Syria were killed Thursday morning in a Turkish drone strike, the area's top military figure said, as Turkey steps up its threats to conduct a full-scale operation against Syrian Kurdish forces.
The strike hit a vehicle carrying internal security force (Asayish) members in the town of Ain Issa near Raqqa as they drove to a camp for displaced persons in Tel Abyad, said Mazloum Abdi, commander-in-chief of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The Asayish named the four killed as Bashar Muhammad Ali Bozan, Jihan Mohammed Mustafa, Sarah Muhammad Al-Hussein, and Salma Ali Mustafa. It said the attack took place "in light of the international silence towards the repeated attacks by the Turkish occupation on our areas".
The strike came as Turkey reiterated months of warnings about carrying out a new operation in northern Syria, with the stated aim of removing "terrorists" from the area.
Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said on Tuesday that a new operation could be launched in the area "at any time".
Turkey claims that much of the Kurdish forces that make up the SDF are linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a Kurdish rebel group that has fought a decades-long conflict with Turkey for greater Kurdish autonomy in the south-east of the country.
Ankara, which has designated the PKK as a terrorist organisation, carries out air strikes against the group in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, home to most of the armed group's bases.
One such strike last week killed nine Iraqis visiting a tourist resort.
Three women SDF fighters were killed in a Turkish drone strike in northeastern Syria last week.