125 people have been killed or wounded in the first five days of Turkey’s Operation Claw-Sword against Kurdish forces, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on November 25.
Turkey launched the operation against Kurdish forces in northern Syria and northern Iraq in response to the November 13 Istanbul bombing. Ankara blamed the deadly terrorist attack on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its Syrian affiliate, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) which is the core faction of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The SOHR said that since the start of operation Claw-Sword, SDF-held areas in northern Syrian have been targeted by 50 Turkish airstrikes, 26 drone strikes and “hundreds” of artillery shells and rockets.
According to the London-based monitoring group, the strikes claimed the lives of 33 personnel of the SDF and affiliated Kurdish armed groups, 25 service members of the Syrian Arab Army, who is deployed in several parts of northern Syria to monitor a ceasefire brokered by Russia in 2019, and a civilian, a reporter of the SDF-linked Hawar News Agency.
Eight other civilians, including three Turkish nationals, were also killed in indirect fire attacks that targeted the Turkish-occupied town of Azaz in northern Syria and a Turkish border town near Bab al-Salam crossing. The attacks were blamed on Kurdish forces.
At least 58 other people, mostly civilians, were wounded during the same period as a result of Turkish strikes and Kurdish forces attacks.
Turkish defense minister Hulusi Akar said on November 25 that 326 Kurdish insurgents have been neutralized in Syria and Iraq since the beginning of Operation Claw-Sword, vowing that the operation will continue “in air and on land.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have warned that his military will launch a ground operation against the SDF in northern Syria “when convenient”. Nevertheless, Turkish strikes on the region slowed down on November 24 and 25 after condemnations from Russia and the United States.
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