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News > World

Turkey Carried Out Gas Attack in Afrin: YPG Kurds, Syrian Gov't

  • Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army fighters are seen next to military trucks in Northern Afrin countryside, Syria, Feb. 16, 2018.

    Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army fighters are seen next to military trucks in Northern Afrin countryside, Syria, Feb. 16, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 17 February 2018

Medical sources told Syrian state media and an opposition monitoring group that at least six people suffered choking after Turkish shelling of a village.

Syrian Kurdish forces said the Turkish military carried out a suspected gas attack that wounded six people in Syria's Afrin region Friday.

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Birusk Hasaka, a spokesman for the Kurdish YPG militia in Afrin, told Reuters that Turkish bombardment hit a village in the northwest of the region, near the Turkish border. He said it caused six people to suffer breathing problems and other symptoms indicative of a gas attack.

Turkey launched an air and ground offensive last month on the Afrin region, opening a new front in the multi-sided Syrian war to target Kurdish fighters in northern Syria.

The YPG claims were echoed by both Syrian state media and the opposition-allied Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Syrian state news agency SANA, citing a doctor in a Afrin hospital, said Turkish shelling of the village caused choking in six people.

Also the Britain-based Observatory told Reuters that Turkish forces and their Syrian anti-government allies hit the village Friday with shells.

Medical sources in Afrin reported that six people in the attack suffered breathing difficulties and dilated pupils, indicating a suspected gas attack, the monitoring group claimed.

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Since the onset of the conflict in 2011, the YPG and its allies have set up three autonomous regions in the north, including Afrin, along the Turkish border.

Their sphere of influence expanded as they seized territory from the Islamic State group with U.S. help, though Washington opposes their autonomy plans as does the Syrian government and Turkey.

U.S. support for Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in Syria has infuriated Ankara, which views them as a security threat along its frontier. Turkey sees the YPG as terrorists and an extension of the outlawed leftist Kurdistan Workers Party, PKK, that has waged a three-decade insurgency on Turkish soil fighting for Kurdish rights.

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