According to local medical sources and Turkey’s government, at least 13 people were killed and numerous more were injured in two separate artillery raids on the northern Syrian town of Afrin on Saturday.
According to civil defence authorities, the first attack occurred in a residential neighbourhood, while the second occurred immediately afterwards at a hospital. On social media, video footage revealed victims among the debris of the Al Shifa hospital.
Ankara denounced the missile strike, which it said was carried out by the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, however the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed militia group led by the Kurdish YPG, claimed responsibility.
The Turkish defence ministry, which has a large military presence in the Syrian area, also put the death toll at 13 and said 27 were injured.
The governor’s office in Turkey’s Hatay province, which borders Afrin, said it was examining an incident in which missiles were launched from the Syrian government-controlled Tel Rifat region.
Turkey considers the YPG to be a terrorist organisation linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) within its own borders, and has launched incursions into Syria in support of Syrian rebels in an attempt to force it back across the Turkish border.
Ankara currently has hundreds of troops in Syria’s final rebel pocket.