Turkish artillery attack hits near school in Syria killing 8 children, 3 others: monitor

A photo taken from Turkey’s Hatay province, on February 22, 2018 shows Turkish Army Forces’ artillery units hit YPG targets within the ‘Operation Olive Branch’ launched in Syria’s Afrin. Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on January 20 in Syria’s northwestern Afrin region. AFP PHOTOS

Eight children were among 11 civilians killed on Monday in a Turkish artillery attack that hit near a school in a northern Syrian town in Aleppo province, a war monitor said, according to AFP.

The shelling on Tal Rifaat, controlled by local Kurdish fighters, took place as students were leaving the building and wounded 21 others, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Most of those killed in the attack were displaced from the Afrin region, which was captured last year by Turkish troops and their Syrian proxies, head of the observatory Rami Abdulrahman said.

Tal Rifaat, a strategic town located 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of Turkey’s frontier, is the scene of regular confrontations between Turkish-backed forces and Kurdish fighters they view as “terrorists.”

Turkey threatened to launch a cross-border offensive to capture Tal Rifaat last year after taking Afrin from the US-backed People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia.

But Russia intervened to stop the planned offensive.

Tal Rifaat is held by local Kurdish fighters displaced from Afrin, Abdulrahman, adding that Russian forces and regime troops are also currently deployed inside the town.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s Defense Ministry on Monday announced that regime strikes targeting the Idlib region of Syria killed 14 civilians and injured 27 others.

In 2018 Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.

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