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Turkey keeps up illegal strikes on N Syria; killing servicemen, civilians

File photo of a Turkish warplane

The Turkish military has carried out new illegal airstrikes against areas lying in northern Syria, killing an unidentified number of Syrian servicemen and civilians.

The fatalities were caused on Sunday, when the Turkish forces struck several targets across the Syrian provinces of Aleppo and al-Hasakah, the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported.

The attacks that targeted al-Hasakah also led to "huge material damages to the [residential] houses," the agency added.

Both Syrian provinces as well as areas lying across northern Iraq came under a sweeping offensive by the Turkish air force on Saturday in an operation dubbed by Ankara as "Pence Kilic."

Turkey claims that the sorties are aimed at United States-backed Kurdish militants, who are known as the People's Protection Units (YPG), and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which Ankara accuses of bearing ties with the YPG.

It blames the PKK for a bombing attack on a busy Istanbul thoroughfare earlier in the month that killed six people and injured more than 80 others. Neither the YPG nor the PKK has assumed any responsibility for the terrorist operation.

Since 2016, Turkey has conducted three illegal incursions into northern Syria against the YPG militants. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said his country could conduct yet another operation against the YPG.

SDF counterstrikes

Also on Sunday, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) umbrella militant group, of which YPG is a key component, retaliated against the Turkish military by bringing Turkish outposts based in northern Aleppo under rocket and artillery counter-raids.

Lebanon's al-Mayadeen television network reported that Turkish military outposts near the Bab al-Salameh crossing in Aleppo's countryside were the target of the counterstrikes.  

Also on Sunday, Reuters reported that unknown assailants had staged a rocket attack on the Turkish border province of Kilis, injuring a soldier and two police members.

Other reports pinned the attack on Kurdish gunmen, identifying those wounded as "eight Turkish military personnel."

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