Turkish-backed forces claim three SDF deaths in northern Syria
Turkish-backed forces in northern Syria claimed on Wednesday to have killed three fighters from the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), after Turkey stepped up its operations in the area earlier this week.
The Third Brigade of the Turkish backed 'Syrian National Army' (SNA) said on Wednesday morning that it had killed three SDF fighters in Tel Rifaat in northern Aleppo province.
The SDF did not confirm the casualties, though affiliated media did report hours before the SNA claim that the area had been hit by Turkish shelling.
The reported deaths came as Turkey and its local proxy forces carried out heavy shelling across northern Syria beginning on Monday evening, and Turkish forces entered Syrian territory in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Turkey has threatened for months to launch a large-scale operation in northern Syria, particularly the Manbij and Tel Rifaat areas, to root out what it calls "terrorist" forces.
The Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, make up much of the SDF. Ankara considers the YPG to be the Syrian offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, an armed group fighting the Turkish state for greater Kurdish autonomy that is listed by Turkey as a terror organisation.
The SDF said on Wednesday that five of its fighters had been killed in a drone strike on a village near Amuda, Hasakeh province on Tuesday. The five were buried after a funeral procession on Wednesday, the SDF said.
One child and several civilians in northern Syria have been injured in this week's shelling by Turkey, according to local media reports on Wednesday.