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Syria: Three dead after Turkish raid on border outposts

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says three killed by Turkish strikes wore Syrian army uniform
A boy walks past the Free Woman statue surrounded by buried tanks, in the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane, also known as Ain al-Arab, in the north of Aleppo governorate on 25 February 2021 (AFP)

Three people have been killed when Turkish air strikes struck outposts in northern Syrian operated by government forces and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), according to a British-based war monitor.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the three killed were wearing Syrian army uniform.

Several other fighters were wounded in the attack near the Kurdish-held border town of Kobane, with some in critical condition, according to the Observatory, which relies on a wide network of sources inside Syria. 

The strikes were preceded by cross-border shelling from near Kobane against Turkish forces, according to the monitor.

Last month, the Syrian government said it would respond to direct attacks by Turkey against its forces.

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The warning came after a Turkish air raid on a government outpost near Kobane killed at least three troops in mid-August, according to the official SANA news agency. 

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Turkey has launched a series of cross-border offensives targeting Kurdish forces and the Islamic State group since 2016, but such operations have rarely resulted in the killing of Syrian government fighters.

Ankara has stepped up its attacks in Kurdish-controlled areas of Syria since a 19 July summit with Iran and Russia failed to green-light a fresh offensive against Kurdish fighters viewed by Ankara as terrorists.

Government forces have deployed in areas controlled by Kurdish fighters near the border with Turkey as part of agreements intended to stem a fresh Turkish operation.

Last week, the UN's Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria said that "another Turkish ground operation" remains a threat in Syria's north, amid "continued mobilisation and fighting" between Turkish and Turkish-backed forces and Kurdish-led opponents.

"Syria cannot afford a return to larger-scale fighting, but that is where it may be heading," warned Paolo Pinheiro, the head of the commission. 

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