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Turkey hits Kurdish region in Syria with fresh airstrikes

Horrific images have emerged from a Syrian hospital where dead and injured children were taken after Turkey seized a strategic outpost from Kurdish militia in Syria on Sunday. 

Turkish warplanes and artillery seized Mount Barsaya in the Kurdish region of Afrin in northwestern Syria, the military command said, pressing ahead with an operation against Kurdish forces it regards as ‘terrorists’.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 51 civilians including 17 children were killed in the offensive on Sunday, including eight from one family, with badly injured victims pictured at an Afrin hospital. 

Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on January 20 against the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Afrin, supporting Syrian opposition fighters with ground troops and air strikes.

A child wounded following a Turkish airstrike is pictured receiving treatment in Syria as Operation Olive Branch continued. 51 civilians including 17 children were reported dead

The hill is significant because it overlooks the towns of Kilis and Azaz, either side of the Turkish-Syrian border.

While Turkey brands the YPG a ‘terror’ group, the militia has received support from the US.

Despite souring relations with Washington, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to expand the offensive against the YPG to Manbij, east of Afrin.

It was reported last week that 34 civilians had died and had their bodies taken to the Afrin hospital in another Turkish airstrike. 

The hospital said that more than 70 Turkish jets had fired on Kurdish militias, while a Turkish news agency merely said that barracks and equipment were attacked, according to the Independent. 

The Observatory said 66 YPG fighters and 69 Turkey-backed Syrian fighters were also killed, while Turkey said five of its soldiers and 16 allied fighters were killed in the fighting.

In a sign the Turkish campaign has rendered prospects for peace in Syria even fainter, authorities in the war-torn country’s Kurdish autonomous region said they will not attend peace talks in Russia.

‘We said before that if the situation remained the same in Afrin we could not attend,’ regional official Fawza al-Yussef said.

A Kurdish man wounded in the Turkish airstrike is pictured in hospital. Turkey is supporting Syrian opposition fighters with ground troops and air strikes

A Kurdish man wounded in the Turkish airstrike is pictured in hospital. Turkey is supporting Syrian opposition fighters with ground troops and air strikes

A child wounded following a Turkish airstrike is pictured receiving treatment as Operation Olive Branch continued

A child wounded following a Turkish airstrike is pictured receiving treatment as Operation Olive Branch continued

A truck arrives at the Afrin hospital carrying a family which was wounded in the airstrikes

A truck arrives at the Afrin hospital carrying a family which was wounded in the airstrikes

Rebel backer Turkey is one of the sponsors of the talks in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Monday and Tuesday, along with Damascus allies Russia and Iran. 

Turkish channel NTV broadcast live footage Sunday showing rocket fire targeting Mount Barsaya, located to the north of Afrin.

Turkish troops and their Syrian opposition allies said last Monday they had captured the hill, before losing it again a few hours later.

Syria’s antiquities department said on Sunday that Turkish air strikes have damaged a 3,000-year-old temple in the country’s north.

Turkish soldiers are pictured at Burseya Mountain after military aircraft hit Kurdish targets and secured the hill as part of the Olive Branch operations

Turkish soldiers are pictured at Burseya Mountain after military aircraft hit Kurdish targets and secured the hill as part of the Olive Branch operations

Smoke rises from Burseya Mountain amid the airstrikes. The hill is significant because it overlooks the towns of Kilis and Azaz, either side of the Turkish-Syrian border

Smoke rises from Burseya Mountain amid the airstrikes. The hill is significant because it overlooks the towns of Kilis and Azaz, either side of the Turkish-Syrian border

A Turkish special forces soldier takes aim on the mountain on the Syrian-Turkish border, as Turkey moved to support Syrian opposition fighters

A Turkish special forces soldier takes aim on the mountain on the Syrian-Turkish border, as Turkey moved to support Syrian opposition fighters

A Turkish tank is seen at Burseya Mountain after military aircraft secured the mountain, having gained it but then lost it again last week 

A Turkish tank is seen at Burseya Mountain after military aircraft secured the mountain, having gained it but then lost it again last week 

Members of the Free Syrian Army, which is backed by Turkey, are pictured at Burseya Mountain after it was recaptured by Turkish forces

Members of the Free Syrian Army, which is backed by Turkey, are pictured at Burseya Mountain after it was recaptured by Turkish forces

In a sign the Turkish campaign has rendered prospects for peace even fainter, authorities in the Kurdish autonomous region said they will not attend peace talks in Russia

In a sign the Turkish campaign has rendered prospects for peace even fainter, authorities in the Kurdish autonomous region said they will not attend peace talks in Russia

Turkish troops and their Syrian opposition allies said last Monday they had captured the hill, before losing it again a few hours later

Turkish troops and their Syrian opposition allies said last Monday they had captured the hill, before losing it again a few hours later

A picture taken from Turkey's Hatay province shows smoke rising as Turkish armed forces hit Kurdish targets in Afrin

A picture taken from Turkey’s Hatay province shows smoke rising as Turkish armed forces hit Kurdish targets in Afrin

Turkish soldiers look out over the Syrian territory after airstrikes in the northwestern Kurdish region of Afrin

Turkish soldiers look out over the Syrian territory after airstrikes in the northwestern Kurdish region of Afrin

Despite souring relations with Washington, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to expand the offensive against the YPG to Manbij, east of Afrin

Despite souring relations with Washington, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to expand the offensive against the YPG to Manbij, east of Afrin



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