Turkish fire kills Kurdish civilian during Syria patrol with Russian troops

Turkish fire kills Kurdish civilian during Syria patrol with Russian troops
Kurdish authorities say Turkish forces on joint patrol with Russia first used tear gas on demonstrators and then opened live fire, killing one civilian.
2 min read
13 November, 2019
Kurdish demonstrators hurl rocks at a Turkish military vehicle during a joint Turkish-Russian patrol [AFP/Getty]

At least one civilian was killed Tuesday by fire from Turkish forces on joint patrol with Russian troops near the Syrian border town of Kobane, Kurdish authorities said.

"Turkish vehicles taking part in the joint patrol with Russian military police targeted unarmed civilians as they passed between the villages of Shiran and Kurbinkar in the countryside around Kobane," Kurdish internal security forces, the Asayish, said in a statement.

It said Turkish forces had first used tear gas at demonstrators then opened fire, killing one civilian and wounding six others.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said nine people were wounded by Turkish fire in the area, with two of them left in critical condition.

It was the second time a civilian has been killed during demonstrations against Turkish-Russian patrols in areas of northwestern Syria previously controlled by Kurdish forces. 

Another civilian died after being run over on Friday as demonstrators hurled rocks at a similar patrol.

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Since joint Turkish-Russian patrols began under a deal between Ankara and Moscow, Kurds have staged demonstrations, hurling rocks at Turkish armoured vehicles.

Turkey launched an offensive into northern Syria last month in an attempt to push the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) out of the border region. Ankara considers the SDF's main constituent party, the People's Protection Units (YPG) as a terrorist group.

Ankara and its Syrian allies now control a 120-kilometre stretch of territory in northern Syria, including the towns of Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain, as part of its "safe zone" plan. 

The deal with Russia - and a separate one with the US - halted the Turkish offensive and the patrols are aimed at allowing Turkey to ensure that Syrian Kurdish fighters have evacuated the border area.

Read more: Syria Weekly: IS poses new threat after Baghdadi death

But Kurdish forces called in Syrian regime forces to halt the Turkish offensive and clashes between regime forces and Turkish fighters persist despite the Russian-brokered truce.

US President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of American troops from the border area in mid-October, seemingly giving Turkey a "green light" to move in.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced as a result of the assault by Turkey and Turkish-allied Syrian fighters to push Kurdish rebels back from the Turkey-Syria border.

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