Aftermath of a car bombing in the Syrian border of Tel Abyad, November 2, 2019 (Anadolu Agency)
A car bomb has killed at least 13 people and injured 30 in a Syrian border town taken by a Turkish-rebel offensive from Kurdish militia last month.
Reports said Turkish-rebel troops and civilians were among the casualties in Tel Abyad after a “bomb-laden vehicle” was detonated in a market. Video showed rubble and a group of men carrying the severely burned body of a victim onto the back of a pickup truck.
Turkey’s State-run news agency Anadolu said some wounded were being treated in the Turkish city of Sanliurfa, 55 km (34 miles) north of Tel Abyad.
The Turkish Defense Ministry blamed the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, led by the Kurdish militia YPG, who withdrew from towns like Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ain in a Kurdish canton along the Turkey-Syria border.
We condemn this inhuman attack of the bloody PKK/YPG terrorists who attacked the innocent civilians of Tel Abyad who returned to their homes and lands as a result of the Operation Peace Spring.
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu declared, “The attack targeting innocent civilians in Tal Abyad should serve as a lesson to those who provide shelter to the YPG terrorist organization and justify its actions.”
Turkey launched the cross-border offensive on October 9, three days after Donald Trump endorsed the operation during a call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and ordered the withdrawal of US troops that had been allied with the SDF.
Erdoğan is seeking control of a zone, 480 km (270 miles) long and 30 km (19 miles) deep, across the Kurdish cantons of Kobani and Cezire and extending east across the Euphrates River to Iraq. He has demanded the withdrawal of the YPG from the zone.
Ankara considers the YPG as “terrorists” who are part of the Turkish Kurdish insurgency PKK. But until Trump’s order, the US supported the SDF, which it created in October 15 to remove the Islamic State from northeast Syria.
After the Turkish-rebel offensive occupied territory, Erdoğan and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed on October 22 that their militaries would carry out oversight of the area. The first joint ground and air patrol was conducted on Friday.
The Defense Ministry said a second round of talks in Turkey with a Russian military delegation, on the implementation of the control agreement, concluded on Saturday.