Turks kill YPJ Kurdish schoolgirls at UN school

The Education Council of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) on Saturday revealed details of a Turkish drone strike that killed four girls at a UN-affiliated training center two days ago in the northeastern Syrian city of Hasakah.

On August 18, a drone targeted a UN center in a village on the road between the town of Hasakah and the town of Tel Tamr in northeastern Syria.

A day later, AANES said the attack was carried out by a Turkish drone.

Eyewitnesses said at the time that ambulances were taking the injured to hospitals in Hasaka.

The village of Samoka, home to the UN center, is about 50km from the Turkish border, making it the first target to be attacked by Turkey outside the planned 30km “safe zone” in northern Syria.

The Turkish “safe zone” is an area 30-35 km (19-22 miles) deep into Syrian territory that Turkey began establishing in 2019 to house Syrian refugees in an area along its border with Syria, as well as to keep her free from Syria. Democratic Forces (SDF), which it considers terrorists.

Shamoka is a few kilometers from the largest bases of the US-led international coalition against Islamic State, and is also a home for US radar systems and officers.

Turkish Escalation and US-Syria Condemnation

“Turkey has escalated its military operations against areas controlled by AANES following recent talks held by the President of Turkey with regional and international parties,” according to the AANES statement.

The attack is not the first of its kind, as “Turkish drones” hover freely in Syrian airspace, occasionally striking targets that Ankara claims are a “threat to its national security.”

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A security source told North Press that an International Coalition patrol was conducted at the scene of the attack earlier.

The US-led coalition did not name the attacker or rather avoided naming him.

Lt. Gen. John Brennan, commander of Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR), said in a statement on Aug. 18:

“An armed unmanned aerial system struck a group of teenage girls playing volleyball who were active in a United Nations training program in Hasakah.”

The lieutenant general condemned the attack and called for “an immediate de-escalation by all parties and an end to activities that jeopardize the significant battlefield gains made by the coalition against the Islamic State.”

On Wednesday, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria Imran Riza expressed concern over the recent escalation of military escalation in northern Syria that has resulted in civilian casualties.

The Board of Education, in its statement on Saturday, revealed the identities of those killed in the attack at the UN-affiliated centre.

According to the AANES statement, the students “Rania Atta, Zozan Zidane, Dilan Ezzadin and Diana Alo” were killed in the attack.

The AANES Education Council said the training center was established according to an official document signed between the UN and the SDF.

Before entering the training center, the girls served in the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) – linked to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) – but after the UN-SDF deal, they were expelled from the YPJ and sent to the center for rehabilitation and reintegration into society, the Board added.

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