01/03/2024, 10.58
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Syrian bishop: innocent people die in Turkish army raids

Syrian Orthodox Mar Maurice Amsih accuses the "occupation forces" of targeting an "innocent" community. In the raids of the last few days, he accuses, at least 10 civilians have died, dozens have been wounded and there has been serious material damage. Turkish Defence Minister confirms cross-border operations to kill soldiers. Sdf: in 2023 almost 800 attacks by Ankara's army.


Aleppo (AsiaNews) - "The Turkish occupation forces continue to attack our people". This is the cry of alarm launched by the Syrian Orthodox archbishop of Jazira and Euphrates mar Maurice Amsih, a territory that includes the provinces of Hassaké and Deir-El-Zor, near the Turkish border, commenting on the military escalation of recent days in northeast Syria.

For the religious person it is a clear "violation" of international "conventions" and "religious and humanitarian standards". His words reflect what was reported by local sources according to which, since December 23, the Turkish army has intensified attacks in a long-disputed region and the scene of intense fighting. In the violence of the last few days, at least 10 civilians have died, dozens have been injured and numerous losses and material damage to properties, installations and road infrastructure have occurred.

Regarding the Turkish bombings that the region has witnessed, the Syrian Orthodox bishop reports that "this year is different from previous ones, due to the ongoing wars around the world that target people of all ethnic groups.

They are conflicts devoid of humanity and which violate international charters and treaties” aimed at “protecting humanity”. Mar Maurice Amsih states that "they affect all components, without distinction".

The Turkish "occupation" force, he continues, continues to bomb the north and east, "randomly" targeting multiple targets: workshops, factories, economic institutions and hospitals "to destroy the region's sources of life".

For the high ecclesiastical leader, the latest wave of violence represents a "new tragedy" that is "added" to the others that have struck Syrians in recent years. "Turkey - he warns in the interview with Hawar News Agency relaunched by Aina - has not stopped its brutal attacks", on the contrary it "intensified" them during the Christmas days. “The tragedy of the Syrian people is great, and Turkey knows no humanity.” We hope that the new year that has just begun, concludes the bishop, can bring "security and peace throughout Syria".

The numbers support the alarm: Turkey recently struck 71 sites linked to Kurdish groups in Syria and Northern Iraq, in retaliation - according to Ankara's version - for the death of 12 Turkish soldiers in Iraq, killed during of fighting with Kurdish PKK militiamen. “Our pain is great, but our determination - Defense Minister Yasar Guler declared on X - is total. We have avenged [the deaths] of our precious children and will continue to do so.”

For some time Iran and Turkey have been attacking Kurdish targets in Iraq and Syria with missiles and drones, killing scores and causing serious damage to the infrastructure in areas already hit by heavy bombing and shelling and other military operations in the past.

Iran centred its operations on Iraqi Kurdistan, where it believes Kurdish resistance groups have bases with links to the Iranian opposition. The attacks intensified in the aftermath of the death of 22-year-old Kurdish Mahsa Amini and street protests that broke out across Iran and are now in their third month.

For its part, Turkey has beefed up its operations in Kurdish areas in Syria. Turkish authorities believe that that terrorist attack on 13 November in Istanbul, which killed six and wounded scores,

According to a reports from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), in 2023 Turkey carried out 798 attacks in areas under the control of the fighting group, including 103 with drones and aircraft, hitting 74 civilian structures and oil-related infrastructure.

Furthermore, Ankara and its related forces carried out 578 operations with heavy weapons (including artillery) and 25 attacks with light weapons and snipers. Furthermore, they launched two attacks with improvised explosive devices and landmines.

Also, the SDF announced that 173 of its fighters were killed in attacks by Turkish groups, the Islamic State (IS, ex Isis) and the Syrian government, with probable reference to the tribal fighters supported by Damascus in Deir ez- Zor.

Finally, the toll speaks of at least 39 civilians killed, among whom there are also 11 children.

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