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Kurdish commander warns of ‘major catastrophe’ as Turkey launches deadly air raids in Syria

Turkey carried out deadly attack on northern Syrian on Saturday.

At least 12 members of US-sponsored Kurdish-led militants and Syrian government forces have reportedly been killed in the Turkish airstrikes on Syria, with the commander of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) warning of a “major catastrophe” following the Turkish aggression.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) broke the news about the fatalities on Sunday, hours after the Turkish military carried out a series of airstrikes across the Syrian provinces of Aleppo and Hasakah, targeting several towns and villages throughout those provinces.

SOHR  said activists had documented the death of six Syrian government forces and six US-sponsored SDF militants and affiliated workers in Raqqa and Hasakah countryside in nearly 25 airstrikes by Turkish fighter jets.

Mazloum Abdi, commander-in-chief of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), accused Turkey on Sunday of launching air strikes on the Kurdish Syrian town of Kobani and that Turkish bombing of the “safe” areas of northern Syria threaten the whole region.

“The cities of Kobani and Derik (al-Malikiyah), the northern countryside of Aleppo, and other areas on the Syrian-Turkish border were subjected on late Saturday and after Sunday mid-night to heavy bombardment by Turkish warplanes,” Abdi said in a post on his Twitter account.

The Kurdish commander said the Turkish bombing “is not in favor of any party,” adding that they “are making every effort to avoid a major catastrophe.”

Stressing that “all will be affected” if war flares up, Abdi said, “The attacks will not be limited to our regions which are now being subjected to aggressive and barbaric bombing.”

The Turkish Defense Ministry said on Sunday it carried out airstrikes on the outlawed Kurdish militant bases in northern Syria, which it said were used to carry out attacks on Turkey.

It added that the strikes targeted bases of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Syrian Kurdish YPG militants, which Turkey considers as a wing of the PKK.

"We are starting Operation Claw-Sword from now on," Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said before the planes left their bases to hit the targets.

"Terrorists' shelters, bunkers, and caves were cracked down," Akar said, adding, "The claws of our Turkish armed forces were once again on the top of the terrorists."

Farhad Shami, a spokesman for the US-backed SDF, also said, "Kobani, the city that defeated ISIS (Daesh), is subjected to bombardment by the aircraft of the Turkish occupation."

Meanwhile, Lebanon's al-Mayadeen channel announced earlier that Turkish raids had targeted SDF positions in the vicinity of the city of al-Malikiyah, northeast of Hasakah.

The news channel said the Turkish warplanes also targeted an SDF site west of Ain Issa district, north of Raqqa, without providing any details on the number of casualties.

Turkey had already said on Tuesday that it planned to pursue targets in northern Syria after it completed a cross-border operation against the PKK militants in Iraq, following a deadly bomb attack in Istanbul last weekend.

Turkey blames Kurdish militants for the blast on Istanbul's Istiklal Avenue on November 13, which killed six people and injured more than 80. No group has claimed responsibility for the blast and both the PKK and the SDF have denied involvement in it.

Turkey has deployed forces in Syria in violation of the Arab country's sovereignty and territorial integrity. 

Ankara-backed militants were deployed to northeastern Syria in October 2019 after Turkish military forces launched a long-threatened cross-border invasion in a declared attempt to push YPG fighters away from border areas.

Ankara views the YPG, which controls swathes of Syria's northern border region, as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers' Party, which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and other senior officials have said Damascus will respond through all legitimate means available to Turkey's ongoing ground offensive.

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