A reported missile attack targets a hospital in the city of Afrin near the northwestern Syrian province of Aleppo’s border with Turkey, killing 18 people and wounding 33 others.
The attack targeted the al-Shifa Hospital in the city on Saturday, Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen news network said.
Citing “local medical sources” and the Turkish state, Reuters news agency has put the death toll at least 13, claiming that the fatalities were caused in two “artillery” attacks. “The first attack struck a residential area, while the second hit a hospital shortly afterwards,” the agency wrote.
Turkey’s state Anadolu news agency had earlier cited officials in the country’s border province of Hatay as holding United States-backed Kurdish militants known as the People’s Protection Units (YPG) for attacking the hospital with Grad missiles and mortar shells.
The areas of Syria that border Turkey have been suffering from intense volatility and rising bloodshed due to a 2016-present Turkish military invasion and incessant growth of Ankara-backed militant groups there.
The invasion, that Damascus has condemned as illegal and an outright breach of its territorial sovereignty, has been seeking to fight back the YPG.
Turkey that by now has deployed thousands of forces on the Syrian soil, associates the YPG with the anti-Ankara Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a terrorist outfit.
The Turkish military has been staging fierce military strikes across Syria and Iraq’s border areas to push back against the Kurds.
A sustained flow of logistical and training assistance to the YPG by the United States has, meanwhile, hardly helped the situation in northwestern Syria.
Ankara and Washington have repeatedly clashed over the issue, while Syria continues to pay the toll.