Turkish strikes on Wednesday targeted Kurdish forces controlling northern Syria’s Al-Hol prison camp, home to more than 50,000 people, including relatives of suspected jihadists, Kurdish forces and a war monitor.
“Turkish aircraft targeted the (Kurdish) security forces of Asayesh with five strikes inside the camp,” said Farhad Shami, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based war monitor, claimed instead that the attacks targeted forces guarding the camp’s exterior and “triggered chaos among (camp) residents”.
None of the sources immediately reported injuries.
Among Al-Hol’s prisoners are more than 10,000 foreigners from dozens of countries. The overcrowded camp is also home to displaced Syrians and Iraqi refugees.
It is the largest camp for displaced people who fled after Kurdish forces, backed by a US-led coalition, drove Islamic State fighters from the last remnants of their Syrian territory in 2019.
The SDF warned that relatives of jihadists may try to flee the camp.
Ankara launched a campaign of airstrikes across parts of Iraq and Syria on Sunday as part of Operation Claw-Sword, following a November 13 bombing in Istanbul that killed six people.
Earlier on Wednesday, Turkey said it was more determined than ever to secure its Syrian border from attacks by Kurdish forces and threatened a ground operation “at the most opportune time”.
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Ankara says it is targeting rear bases of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is blacklisted as a terrorist group by the European Union and the United States, and Syria’s Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which dominates the SDF.
Both Kurdish groups denied responsibility for the attack in Istanbul.