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At least 35 civilians killed as Turkish warplanes hit north Syria

A Turkish soldier waves as he drives to his base in Karkamis on the Turkish-Syrian border in Turkey on August 27. Photograph: (Reuters)

WION Karkams/Gaziantep, Turkey Aug 28, 2016, 08.04 AM (IST)
Around 35 civilians were killed as Turkish warplanes and artillery struck areas held by Kurdish YPG (people protection units) militia in north Syria on Sunday, said reports.

Turkey is involved in a cross-border campaign launched last week with its Syrian rebel allies and says that its campaign is against the Islamic State while attempting to stop Kurdish forces from extending their control in other territories.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Sunday that Turkish warplanes had struck areas north of Manbij, a city south of Jarablus captured by Kurdish-aligned Syrian Democratic Forces this month in a US-backed operation.

 25 Kurdish militants were killed in its air strikes. 

Turkish officials say their goal in Syria is as much about ensuring Kurdish forces do not expand the territory they already control along Turkey's border as it is about driving Islamic State from its strongholds.

The Observatory, a Britain-based monitoring group with a network of sources in Syria, said Turkish-allied forces had seized at least two villages south of Jarablus, Jub al-Kousa and al-Amarna, that were held by militias loyal to the SDF.

The fighting killed 20 civilians in Jub al-Kousa and 15 in al-Amarna, while scores more were wounded, the group said.

Ankara wants to stop Kurdish forces gaining control of an unbroken swathe of Syrian territory on Turkey's frontier, which it fears could embolden the Kurdish PKK militant group that has waged a three-decade insurgency in Turkey.

(WION with inputs from agencies)
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