Turkiye bombed Syria despite earthquake devastation: Kurdish official
This is the Turkish military’s first attack on Syria since the disaster struck both countries last week
By News Desk - February 15 2023

(Photo credit: Hussein Malla/AP)

A top Kurdish official in Syria accused Turkiye on 13 February of launching a drone strike on the northeastern Syrian town of Ain al-Arab (Kobani), despite the fact that they are dealing with the aftermath of a devastating earthquake that has left at least 35,000 dead in both countries.

Elham Ahmed, the President of the Executive Committee of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), the political wing of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militia, said via Twitter on Monday that a Turkish drone had targeted the Kurdish-majority town, posting a picture of an alleged victim of the strike.

“Despite earthquake disaster in Syria and Turkiye, and its humanitarian impact, the Turkish government still insists on its hostile policies based on violence and war … Turkish UAV targeted Kobani today, with no regard to human catastrophe. Ongoing escalation serves no one but harms both Turkish and Syrian people,” Ahmed’s tweet read.

Also reporting the Turkish drone strike was the UK-based war monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), which said on 12 February that a Turkish drone struck an SDF military vehicle in western Ain al-Arab, leaving casualties and injuries among the SDF’s ranks.

The Turkish government has refrained from making any comment. This is Ankara’s first strike on Syria since before the earthquake hit, during which it was involved in a process to reconcile ties with Damascus.

Generally speaking, military activity has ceased across the country, given the tragic outcome of the disaster and the destruction it caused. However, incidents are expected to take place here and there.

On Tuesday, 14 February, US Central Command (CENTCOM) released a statement claiming to have shot down what it called an Iranian-made drone, which was allegedly carrying out a reconnaissance flight over Washington’s Conoco occupation base in northeastern Syria.

A day after the earthquake, the London-based Middle East Eye (MEE) claimed that Syrian government forces “bombed areas hit by the earthquake hours after the disaster.”

However, according to British journalist Vanessa Beeley, this was a misconstrued story. Beeley claimed that, in reality, armed groups in the northwestern town of Marea dispatched a drone that the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) proceeded to shoot down, resulting in claims of SAA ‘bombardment.’

Lately, armed groups – primarily Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) – have been heavily politicizing the disaster in an attempt to discredit Damascus and “garner international support for themselves,” as it was put by sources who spoke to Al-Mayadeen in the last few days.

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