A car bomb in northeast Syria killed eight people and wounded more than 20 on Sunday, November 10, in an area of the country recently invaded by Turkey, the defense ministry said.
“Eight civilians lost their lives and more than 20 were wounded in an attack by a booby-trapped vehicle,” a defense ministry statement said.
The attack happened in Suluk, a village about 20 km (12 miles) southeast of the Syrian border town of Tal Abyad, AFP reported.
The defense ministry statement blamed the attack on Syria’s predominantly Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), viewed by Ankara as an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has fought an insurgency inside Turkey for the past 35 years.
The YPG has been armed and trained by the U.S.-led Global Coalition against Islamic State as the backbone of the wider multi-ethnic Syrian Democratic Forces militia, the Coalition’s main partner force on the ground against ISIS in Syria.
On October 9, backed by artillery and air power, Turkish special forces alongside Syrian rebels under the umbrella of the so-called Syrian National Army launched an incursion against the YPG in northeast Syria.
The assault, which has killed hundreds and reportedly displaced more than one hundred thousand, began three days after the White House announced that U.S. forces would withdraw from the immediate area of Turkey’s impending attack after Presidents Donald Trump and Recep Tayyip Erdogan had spoken on the phone.
Sunday’s bombing is the second in just over a week in the area. On November 2, a vehicle bomb detonated in the Syrian border town of Tal Abyad, killing more than 13 people, Turkey’s defense ministry said.
Ilham Ahmed, president of the executive council of the Syrian Democratic Council, the political arm of the SDF, condemned the Tel Abyad November 2 bombing during a visit to Washington. YPG-affiliated groups have been blamed for vehicle bombs in Turkish-controlled areas of Syria before.
Turkey launched an incursion into the Kurdish-majority region of Efrin in 2018, where a number of vehicle bombs detonated in crowded civilian areas, mostly in majority-Arab towns, have been blamed on YPG affiliates.
The Turkish government has said it intends to seize a strip of land in Syria’s northeast roughly 30 km deep into the 440-km border between the two countries. The area includes nearly all of Syria’s remaining Kurdish-majority areas under the influence of the YPG.
Turkey says it wants to establish a “safe zone” there in which to resettle some of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees it hosts on its soil. The U.S. State Department has said most of those refugees are of Arab descent and are not originally from that area.
The SDF has rejected Turkey’s resettlement plan, while the U.S. has said any population transfers must be conducted according to U.N. guidelines.
With reporting from AFP