A member of the Turkish Red Crescent was killed and another member was injured attack against the charity organization’s vehicle in northern Syria on September 14th.
The Turkish Red Crescent vehicle with three personnel on board was caught in a crossfire between two vehicles without license plates, carrying people wearing masks and camouflage, in an area between northern Syrian towns of al-Rai and al-Bab.
Attacking staff of the Red Cross or Red Crescent constitutes a war crime, but militants likely care little about those rules of engagement.
After the attackers escaped, the injured were immediately hospitalized. Reports said the injured were out of danger and will be transferred to Turkey for further treatment.
The name of the employee who was killed was revealed as Mehmet Arif Kıdıman.
Turkish flags have been draped along the street where Kıdıman’s house is located. His funeral is expected to take place on September 15th.
The head of the Turkish Red Crescent’s Düzce branch Halil Aydın condemned the attack and labeled it as “terrorism.”
“Before anything, this is a terrorist attack, and it targeted a charity organization that aims to deliver aid to innocent people. It has international immunity even in war conditions. That vehicle was in there only to deliver aid. This is a vicious attack that targeted people who were fighting to help,” Aydın said.
The attack took place in the area that was subject to the Turkish operation Euphrates Shield that presumably liberated the area from ISIS between August 2016 and March 2017th.
Head of the Turkish Red Crescent Kerem Kınık condemned the attack and reportedly traveled to the province to further inspect the incident.
“I strongly condemn the despicable attack on the Red Crescent personnel, who should be protected by international law and who have immunity according to international humanitarian law because their vehicles bear the Red Crescent emblem,” Kınık said.
“I believe that with the efforts of our country, the attackers will be caught as soon as possible. My condolences to the entire Red Crescent community,” he added.
Kınık said that the organization’s activities in Syria will continue.
“Both to protect civilians in the region and to provide aid to these people we will continue our struggle,” he said.
Emphasizing the organization’s joint work with the Turkish Health Ministry in the region, Kınık said aid is crucial for Syria given that millions of vulnerable people.
“We are obliged to engage in these activities as there is not much else support from the international community to the region,” he added.
Turkey’s National Defense Ministry also released a statement on the issue, vowing a response.
“All measures have been taken by both our land and air forces in order to find the responsible terrorists, who degraded themselves to the point of attacking an aid agency that has immunity in international law,” the ministry said.
Separately, a US MQ-9 Reaper drone struck a Hyundai Santa Fe in the town of al-Qusur in Idlib, Syria.
Two individuals were reportedly killed and both of them are Tunisian citizens.
The first target was Sayaf at-Tunisi, a military instructor and field commander. The second was Safina at-Tunisi, a field commander.
Both of them were part of the Hurras al-Din faction, which is essentially the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda. This group is currently in tensions with another al-Qaeda-linked organization, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.
Accrording to reports, the both eliminated terrorists were wanted by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. Thus, it turned out that an US drone did the job for the terrorist group.
Ten days ago, the head of the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham Sharia Committee, Abdul Rahim Atun, also known as “Abu Abdullah ash-Shami” gave a comment to the French newspaper Le Tempes.
The plenipotentiary to make official statements on behalf of the entire organization, Atun, said that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham is seeking an international support and wants to “clear its name.”
Atun made a special emphasis on the words of Abu Muhammad al-Juliani, voiced in an interview with Al-Jazeera in 2015:
“Nusra (the old Hayat Tahrir al-Sham name) is focused only on the “Syrian revolution” and “jihad in the Levant”, which is limited to “fighting the regime” (with which they are ready to fight for another hundred years) and “occupiers” (Russia and Iran).”
The thesis that the “jihad” of the HTS is directed only to the territory of Syria has once again been confirmed in practice – at least in Hayat Tahrir al-Sham they are doing everything they can to create such a “decent appearance of their activities.”
The Tunisians were put on the wanted list by Interpol and then they were discovered, they were left alone for a while to move about the area under Hayat Tahrir al-Sham control. Then presumably a tip was given to the US-led coalition through some Turkish sources.
The Coalition reported on the elimination of the next al-Qaeda field commanders who, both in words and in deeds, were engaged in “exporting jihad” abroad.
Of course, in the eyes of MSM, they were true terrorists, while Hayat Tahrir al-Sham members are simply the ones who focus their fight inside Syria and have no interest in anything beyond, presumably.
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