Turkey has conducted airstrikes against Kurdish militant targets in northern Syria, in response to a deadly attack on a hospital in the region.
The airstrikes targeted the positions of the Peoples' Protection Units (YPG) and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the Syrian regime-held city of Tel Rifat yesterday. Ankara accused the groups of the attack on Al-Shifa Hospital in the opposition-held city of Afrin on Saturday.
At least 13 people were killed and 27 were injured as a result of two separate artillery strikes on Afrin, the first of which hit a residential area and the second which hit the hospital. A doctor, three hospital staff, two women, and two children were reportedly amongst those killed.
The US, the UN, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) condemned the hospital attack, for which nobody has claimed responsibility. The YPG and SDF denied that it was them, although the Turkish government accused the US-backed Kurdish militias. The governor of the Turkish province of Hatay said that the missiles were fired from the Syrian regime-held city of Tel Rifat.
With Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promising to "hold these cowards accountable for every drop of blood they spilled," the defence ministry yesterday stated that retaliatory strikes had been conducted against "terrorist targets" in Tel Rifat.
The strikes on Afrin and the hospital came at the end of a week of shelling of civilian areas in north-western Syria carried out by Russia and the regime of Bashar Al-Assad. This has sparked fears of a renewed offensive on the opposition-held territory.