(Beirut) Eight Kurdish fighters were killed in Turkish strikes which targeted Wednesday evening the Al-Hol camp, sheltering families of jihadists in the northeast of Syria, Kurdish forces said Thursday.
The Turkish shelling “leaved eight of our fighters tasked with protecting the camp,” the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a Kurdish-dominated coalition backed by the United States, said in a statement.
Under Kurdish administration, the dilapidated and overcrowded Al-Hol camp has been home to more than 50,000 relatives of Islamic State (IS) jihadists since the group’s defeat, as well as displaced Syrians and Iraqi refugees.
Among the inhabitants of the camp are more than 10,000 foreigners from around 60 countries, including French and other Europeans.
On Wednesday, the SDF warned that “some IS families may flee the camp” taking advantage of the chaos.
Turkey has been carrying out an operation called “Sword-Claw” since Sunday against Kurdish forces in Syria and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Iraq, accused by Ankara of the recent attack which killed six people on November 13 in Istanbul.
Kurdish forces have denied any involvement.
On Thursday, Turkish artillery fire targeted several Kurdish positions in the provinces of Hassaké (north-east) and Aleppo (north), also targeting a position of Syrian regime forces east of the city of Kobané, without causing any casualties, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH).
Since Sunday, 35 Kurdish fighters, 23 Syrian soldiers, as well as a journalist working for a Kurdish news agency have been killed in Turkish air raids, according to the OSDH.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday threatened to launch a ground offensive in northern Syria, raising concerns among several countries that have deployed forces in the region. The Kremlin on Tuesday urged Turkey not to “destabilize the situation” in northern Syria.