NORTH AND EAST SYRIA — In the wake of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) attack in Ankara, Turkish attacks on vital civilian infrastructure in North and East Syria have intensified.
Turkish warplanes and drones targeted civilian areas, including a brick factory in Al-Safya and the Mushirfat Hamma farms, resulting in civilian casualties. Turkish forces also targeted villages and towns across North and East Syria and targeted at least one location inside the Washo Kani camp for internally displaced people from Rish Ayno (Ras al-Ayn / Serekaniye). Vital facilities, such as the Western Dam electricity transfer station and Saeeda oil station, were also attacked, raising concerns about the safety of civilians and the stability of the region.
Video of the downing of a Turkish Anka-S drone was circulating social media on Thursday. Photos of the wreckage of the drone were also circulated. It was not immediately clear who shot down the drone.
— Hoshang Hassan (@HoshangHesen) October 5, 2023
In response to the Turkish campaign, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) vehemently denied Turkish accusations that the individuals who attacked Ankara traveled across the border into Turkey from North and East Syria. The SDF accused Turkey of using these claims to divert attention from internal issues and create a pretext for ethnically driven crimes and genocide against the local populace.
SDF General Commander Mazloum Abdi condemned Turkey for potentially using the situation as a pretext for a new military aggression. Abdi emphasized the SDF’s non-involvement in Turkey’s internal conflicts and called on the international community to promote stability and peace in the region.
Ankara's attack perpetrators haven't passed through our region as Turkish officials claim, and we aren't party to Turkey's internal conflict nor we encourage escalation.
Turkey is looking for pretexts to legitimize its ongoing attacks on our region and to launch a new military…
— Mazloum Abdî مظلوم عبدي (@MazloumAbdi) October 4, 2023
Elham Ahmed, head of the Executive Committee of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), denied the Turkish allegations and said that the allegations aim to destabilize the region.
She stressed that Turkey is now attacking the infrastructure in North and East Syria, where 5 million people live, including hundreds of thousands of displaced civilians.
Ahmed called on the international community to intervene to protect civilians and indicated their support for resolving the conflict. She called on the Turkish government not to export its internal problems to North and East Syria.
1/The Turkish government is routinely using drones to attack our cities, and now it is threatening to hit the infrastructure in our region, where there are 5 million people living, including IDPs. The International community must take action before it's too late.
— Elham Ahmad (@ElhamAhmadSDC) October 4, 2023
In a statement released on Thursday, the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) condemned the Turkish government’s attempts to legitimize its attacks on the people of North and East Syria. Refuting claims that the perpetrator of the Ankara attack came from Syria, the statement questioned the plausibility of crossing the heavily controlled Turkish border, marked by stringent measures, imposing barriers, and violence against immigrants.
The statement characterized the Turkish attacks as an evasion from internal conflicts and a manipulation of public opinion. AANES emphasized that targeting vital civilian infrastructure constitutes a war crime. The statement underscored the potential negative consequences on the overall humanitarian and living conditions in the region.