Turkish strikes on Wednesday targeted Kurdish forces controlling northern Syria’s al-Hol detention camp, home to more than 50,000 people, including relatives of suspected jihadists, Kurdish forces and a war monitor said.
“Turkish planes targeted the [Kurdish] Asayesh security forces with five strikes inside the camp,” said Farhad Shami, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, instead said that the strikes targeted forces guarding the camp’s exterior, “sparking chaos among [camp] residents.”
Neither source immediately reported casualties.
Among al-Hol’s detainees are more than 10,000 foreigners from dozens of countries.
The overcrowded camp is also home to displaced Syrians, and Iraqi refugees.
It is the largest camp for displaced people who fled after Kurdish forces, backed by a US-led coalition, dislodged fighters from the Islamic State group from the last scraps of their Syrian territory in 2019.
The SDF warned that relatives of jihadists might try to flee the camp.
Ankara on Sunday launched a campaign of airstrikes across parts of Iraq and Syria as part of Operation Claw-Sword, following a bombing in Istanbul on Nov. 13 that killed six people.
Earlier on Wednesday, Turkey said that it was more determined than ever to secure its Syrian border from attacks by Kurdish forces, threatening a ground operation “at the most convenient time.”
Ankara says it is targeting rear bases of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which is listed as a terror group by the EU and the US — and the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units, which dominate the SDF.
The US in a statement on Wednesday urged “an immediate de-escalation in northern Syria.”
“We are deeply concerned by recent military action that destabilizes the region, threatens our shared goal to fight ISIS [the Islamic State], and endangers civilians and US personnel,” US Department of State spokesman Ned Price said.
Both Kurdish groups denied responsibility for the Istanbul attack.
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