Using drones and fighter jets, the Turkish air force is bombing primarily civilian infrastructure in Kurdish Rojava in northern Syria. It is not only the power supply that has collapsed as a result.
Turkey continued its airstrikes on the Rojava region in Kurdish-controlled northeastern Syria over the weekend, killing scores of people. Since Thursday, the air force has been using drones and fighter jets to bomb primarily civilian infrastructure targets, including electricity and gas plants, facilities supplying drinking water, oil fields and refineries, factories, an animal feed factory. A refugee camp for internally displaced persons near the town of Hesekê is also reported to have been hit; the Western aid organisations working there are said to have left. In other cases, the air strikes are also reported to have targeted people in vehicles and on motorbikes.
The Turkish government, on the other hand, claims to have attacked Kurdish security force sites. After an attack last week on Sunday in the centre of Ankara, the military announced airstrikes on Kurdish positions in Syria and Iraq. According to Ankara, the two attackers had been trained in Syria. The Kurdish-led military alliance Democratic Forces of Syria (SDF), supported by the USA, rejected this. A branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) claimed responsibility for the attack, in which, according to Turkish sources, the two attackers were killed and two police officers slightly injured.
Turkey regards the Kurdish militia YPG, which is an integral part of the SDF, as a Syrian offshoot of the PKK. Since 2016, Ankara has also been using ground troops to drive Kurdish forces out of northern Syria and is also working with Islamist militias in Syria to do so.
After the attacks, electricity supply has collapsed in large parts of Rojava. This was reported by the German politician Civan Akbulut, who sits on the Essen city council for the Left Party, on Twitter (today X). A hospital in Dêrik, which specialised in corona treatment, was also completely destroyed, according to his report.
Representatives of the twinning between the Berlin district of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg and Dêrik condemned this attack on vital civilian infrastructure in a press release. The central gas power plant, located southwest of Dêrik, was the only one still functioning in north-east Syria and supplied the entire region with gas and electricity. It also served as a filling station for gas cylinders for households. “Deliberate attacks on purely civilian targets are war crimes,” the twinned town’s board said.
On Thursday, a US warplane had shot down a Turkish drone near a US base in northern Syria. Commanders had perceived it as a “potential threat” to soldiers stationed there. Afterwards, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan and his US counterpart Antony Blinken spoke on the phone, according to agency reports, and agreed to defuse future conflicts in the region in a way “that would not hinder our fight against terrorism”. It was the first incident of its kind between the two Nato allies.
Published in German in „nd“.
Image: Turkish attacks in Rojava are primarily targeting civilian infrastructure, including power plants, the water supply and an important hospital (Rojava Information Centre).