A war monitor and Syrian Kurdish officials say at least nine people, including five civilians, have been killed Turkish airstrikes on a convoy, which included protesters against the ongoing Turkey-led offensive into northern Syria.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the convoy guarded by armed men was hit Sunday when it arrived in Ras al-Ayn, a border town that advancing Turkish-allied forces have seized. A neighborhood on the edge of the town remained in the hands of Kurdish-led fighters.
Mervan, a spokesman for the Kurdish forces, said at least 11 were killed and 74 injured but it was not clear how many were civilians.
The Observatory said journalists, including foreigners, were accompanying the convoy. A Kurdish news agency, Hawar, said one of its reporters was killed. Images of the attack showed the airstrike shatter an otherwise quiet street. Bodies and severed limbs were strewn in the street. Some of those killed appeared to be carrying guns. Activists said the gunmen were guarding the convoy.
Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency says Turkey-backed Syrian forces have advanced into the center of a Syrian border town, Tal Abyad, on the fifth day of the Turkey’s military offensive against Kurdish fighters in Syria.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, also said Sunday that the Turkey-backed forces had near full control of the town.
Sporadic gunfire and an occasional mortar round could still be heard hitting Tal Abyad from just across the border in the Turkish town of Akcakale. There were some celebrations in Akcakale, with people waving Turkish flags.
The Turkish government views the Syrian Kurdish fighters as terrorists because of their links to an insurgency in southeast Turkey. But those same Syrian Kurdish forces were a key U.S. ally in the war against the Islamic State group.
Turkey has vowed to carve out a safe zone inside Syria along the border.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier 17 villages around Tal Abyad had also been captured.
The Syrian Kurdish fighters had themselves captured the town from IS in 2015.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged Turkey’s president to immediately stop his country’s military offensive into northeastern Syria against Syrian Kurdish fighters.