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Turkey military fires on Tal Abyad in northern Syria, killing at least one HXP member

At least one person was killed and another injured after Turkey’s armed forces fired into northern Syria on Tuesday, October 30.

The firing, which reportedly began around 9 p.m. and targeted Tal Abyad, killed at least one member of the HXP, the conscripted Self-Defense Forces of the self-declared Democratic Federation of Northern Syria. At least one other HXP member was injured.

Tal Abyad, also known as Gire Spi, is a town on the Turkey-Syria border, around 80 km (50 miles) north of Raqqa.

ANHA news agency, which is close to the predominantly Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), reported a military source as saying the firing came from a Cobra military vehicle and targeted the border gate.

The Otokar Cobra is a family of light armored vehicles which incorporate some mechanical components of the American Humvee vehicle. It can be fitted with a turret produced by the Israel’s Rafael, and can carry a 12.7mm machine gun, 20mm cannon, anti-tank guided missiles, or surface-to-air missiles.

The cross-border firing comes days after Turkish military shelled territory controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces west of the Euphrates on Sunday, killing an HXP member. According to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency, that shelling targeted the YPG. It struck around 2 km (1.2 miles) east of Jarablus, the main administrative center in the area of Syria controlled by Turkey and Turkey-backed Syrian opposition fighters.

Also on Tuesday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey has completed planning for a new military operation in northern Syria to “destroy” the YPG.

Erdogan has repeatedly threatened to launch a new offensive in Syria east of the Euphrates to take DFNS territory as far as the Iraq border in the east.

On Friday Erdogan said he was giving a “final warning” to those who endanger Turkey’s borders.

Turkey has launched two offensives west of the Euphrates since 2016.

Operation Euphrates Shield captured Islamic State-held territory to the west of the river and prevented the SDF from expanding territory it had captured from the jihadists around Manbij.

Earlier this year, Turkish military forces backed Syrian opposition fighters to retake the western Efrin region from the YPG in a two-month air and ground offensive called Operation Olive Branch. There was no ISIS presence in Efrin.

The YPG is considered by the Turkish government to be inextricably linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged a decades-long insurgency in Turkey, and is designated as a terror group by Turkey and its Western allies.

But the YPG is not a proscribed organization in the United Kingdom, United States or European Union and is a key component of the U.S.-led Coalition-backed SDF alliance which is waging a successful campaign against ISIS in Syria.

Washington’s support of the YPG remains a major point of contention between the U.S. and Turkey, NATO allies who have seen relations deteriorate over the last two years.

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