Turkey has opened up a dangerous new front in Syrian conflict

This post was originally published on this site

I spotted the young boy near our Turkish hilltop position overlooking the Syrian town being shelled.

There were lots of kids hanging around. TV crews, with our cameras and satellite trucks, always attract excitable attention from youngsters.

But this little chap didn’t seem too interested in us. He looked deep in thought.

In the distance – no more than two kilometres away on the other side of the border in Syria – plumes of black smoke were rising.

These marked the Kurdish rebel targets hit by the Turkish artillery, the very visual consequence of a decision by US President Donald Trump to pull US forces out of this part of Northern Syria, giving Turkey the space to carry out a military offensive into the area.

I wondered what the boy was thinking.

Just after I took the photo we heard a boom in the distance. It was incoming. The Kurdish fighters on the other side were firing back – retaliating against the Turkish onslaught.

We moved into the town itself to see what had been hit. Eight mortars had landed on the town.

A government building and a home were hit. Eight people were injured and two died, including a baby.

Refugee family in Turkey bury baby son after attack

Turkish authorities distributed images of the baby – they wanted them published to back up their claim that the Kurdish rebels are terrorists.

We could never have published it. The little child had died from multiple shrapnel wounds.

The doctors had clearly done all they could – the photo showed that chest seals had been stuck all over the baby’s tummy. But they would never have been enough.

In all, more than 150 mortars fired by the Kurdish rebel group hit several Turkish border towns.

It was a response to a massive Turkish offensive which began on Wednesday.

The Turkish claim they are legitimately targeting Kurdish rebel fighters of a group called the YPG, who are linked to the PKK Kurdish separatists – considered a terror group by most western governments.

The problem is that the YPG have been instrumental in helping western governments fight and try to defeat the Islamic State.

From my position on the Turkish side, it’s not possible to know the damage the Turkish weapons are doing on the Kurdish side.

The United Nations had warned of the risk of huge casualties and has now said that the Turkish shelling has displaced a staggering 100,000 people.

An explosion is seen over the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain as seen from the Turkish border town of Ceylanpinar

Image: An explosion is seen over the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain as seen from the Turkish border town of Ceylanpinar

Even before this Turkish operation more than 1.3 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance. More than 500,000 of them are there because they fled fighting elsewhere in Syria.

By pushing in to achieve its own goals, Turkey has now opened up a dangerous new front in the long Syria conflict.

There must be many, many more like the little boy I met on the hilltop.

I have a son the same sort of age. He’s always asking so many questions. I can’t imagine what this little boy must ask his parents.

Login, Join the discussion, Post a comment, Earn points and win prizes!!

Please Login to comment
Notify of
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!