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Turkey: Several killed after rockets fired from Syria

November 21, 2022

Turkish officials have pledged to respond after three people, including a child, were killed in a rocket attack near the Syrian border. The attack comes a day after Turkey bombed Kurdish-held areas in Syria.

A military aircraft of Turkish Air Force lands at the Incirlik 10th Tanker Base Command in Saricam district
Turkey says three people were killed in retaliatory rocket fire that was launched by Kurdish militants in northern SyriaImage: Eren Bozkurt/AA/picture alliance

Turkey reported on Monday that rockets fired from northern Syria landed in the Turkish border town of Karkamis, killing three people.

"Three of our citizens lost their lives. One of them is a child, another a teacher," Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said during a live TV broadcast in which he also vowed a "strong response."

The country's Interior Ministry said the rockets had been fired by Kurdish militants who control large stretches of land along the Turkish border.

Turkey has recently restarted its bombing campaign of Kurdish-held regions in Syria as well as areas in northern Iraq.

Ankara has said the air strikes are in response to a terror attack in Istanbul on November 13. Turkish officials blamed the deadly bombing on militants from the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) based in Turkey and their allies, the People's Protection Units (YPG) in Syria.

The Kurdish groups have denied being behind the attack.

A view shows the aftermath of airstrikes, which Turkey's defence ministry says it carried out, in Derik, Syria
The strikes from Syria come a day after Turkey launched airstrikes in Derik, Syria (pictured above)Image: North Press Agency via REUTERS

Erdogan mulls land invasion

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appeared to be considering a full ground invasion of northern Syria — similar to the Turkish operation in the northwest canton of Afrin in 2018 — in response to the rocket attacks.

"There is no question that this operation be limited to only an aerial operation," Erdogan told reporters after returning from watching the World Cup opening ceremony in Qatar.

"Competent authorities, our defense ministry and chief of staff will together decide the level of force that should be used by our ground forces," Erdogan said.

"We have already warned that we will make those who violate our territory pay," he added.

Turkey's cross-border offensive

Turkish sources said that the strikes on Monday hit a high school and two houses in Karkamis as well as a truck near the border crossing with the Syrian town of Jarablus.

Another round of rocket fire from Syria on Sunday wounded six Turkish policemen at a border crossing.

Turkish air strikes, part of an offensive codenamed "Operation Claw-Sword," over the weekend killed at least 31 people, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The Kurdish city of Kobane was among those hit in the offensive. The city made headlines in 2014 when it fended off an onslaught from so-called "Islamic State" (IS) forces.

Turkey and its allies in Europe and North America consider the PKK a terrorist group, but are divided on the status of the Kurdish forces in Syria. The Kurdish combatants in the war-tor country receive support from Washington for their role in fighting Islamist insurgents in the region.

ab/dj (AFP, AP)