On August 10, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) acknowledged that four of its fighters were killed and three others were wounded as a result of a Turkish drone strike that targeted the northeastern Syrian town of al-Qamishli a day earlier.
In a statement, the Kurdish-led group said that the fighters were manning a post guarding a number of hospitals in al-Qamishli.
The slain fighters were identified as Ali al-Maslat, 56, Muhyiddin Ibrahim, 31, Maher Al-Ezbeh, 18, and 18-years-old woman Heaven Osman.
On the same day, the Internal Committed of the SDF’s Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria announced that Youssef Mahmoud Rabbani, a leader of the Kurdish-Iranian Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK), died of wounds he sustained from the August 6 Turkish drone strike on al-Qamishli.
The PJAK, which is affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), has been waging an insurgency against Iranian government forces since 2004. Rabbani was reportedly visiting northeastern Syria to boost cooperation with the SDF, which is also affiliated with the PKK.
The drone strike that fatally wounded Rabbani also killed a commander of the SDF’s military discipline unit, Mazloum Saad Eddin Asaad, and three civilians, including two children.
Turkey intensified its drone operations over SDF-held areas in northern and northeastern Syria in recent weeks in what appears to be a step down from its previous plans to launch a fully-fledged military operation against the group.
The recent strikes on al-Qamishli indicate that Turkey has significantly improved its intelligence on the SDF. Ankara may have also began to cooperate with the Iranian or even the Syrian intelligence against the group. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hinted at such a cooperation on a number of recent occasions.