Late on November 23, a Turkish drone strike targeted a senior military commander of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the northeastern Syrian town of al-Qamishli.
A mini truck that was carrying the commander, identified as Rezan Gelo, and two other people was struck while it was passing near al-Qarmouti roundabout in al-Qamishli, which is jointly held by the SDF and Syrian government forces.
Citing local sources in al-Qamishli, the Russian Sputnik news agency reported that Gelo was killed in the Turkish drone strike. However, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the driver of the mini truck was killed in the strike while the commander was severely wounded along with another unidentified man.
Gelo is a prominent commander of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) who served as the “defense minister” of the SDF for a period. The commander, who allegedly has ties to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), worked closely with the U.S.-led coalition.
The drone strike on al-Qamishli was one of at least 18 Turkish strikes that targeted the SDF’s areas of influence in northern and northeastern Syria on November 23. The airstrikes targeted several positions of the SDF and government forces as well as a number of oil and gas facilities.
The strikes were carried out in the framework of Operation Claw-Lock, which Turkey launched on November 20 against Kurdish forces in Syria and Iraq in response to the November 13 Istanbul bombing. Ankara blamed the deadly terrorist attack on the PKK and the YPG, the core faction of the SDF.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have already warned that the operation could soon morph into a full-on invasion of northern and northeastern Syria.
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