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Turkish strikes deprive hundreds of northeast Syria villages of power

Kurdish Syrian firemen put out a blaze at a power station in Qamishli which was reportedly targeted by Turkish drones
Kurdish Syrian firemen put out a blaze at a power station in Qamishli which was reportedly targeted by Turkish drones - Copyright AFP Delil SOULEIMAN
Kurdish Syrian firemen put out a blaze at a power station in Qamishli which was reportedly targeted by Turkish drones - Copyright AFP Delil SOULEIMAN

Hundreds of northeast Syrian villages and towns have lost power, with water supplies also affected, after Turkish strikes pounded electricity stations and infrastructure, the region’s semi-autonomous Kurdish administration said Monday.

The Kurdish administration said Turkey had launched a series of strikes since Friday, mostly concentrated on infrastructure including power stations and oil refineries.

Turkey said it has carried out airstrikes against Kurdish militants in northern Syria in response to the deaths of nine Turkish soldiers in clashes with suspected Kurdish militants in Iraq on Friday.

In a statement Monday, the Kurdish authorities listed hundreds of villages and towns facing blackouts due to the Turkish strikes and also reported damage to oil facilities.

The administration condemned the “Turkish aggressions”, which it said were “unjustified and disregarded customs and laws”.

The administration said Turkey struck six power plants, one of which was targeted twice on Monday in the city of Qamishli, where AFP reporters saw firefighters putting out a large blaze.

Later on Monday it said that all of the Qamishli region’s water pumps and stations had been “out of service” since the attacks on the power stations.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said a seventh station had been targeted later on Monday.

Syria’s northeast has been suffering from long power cuts after more than a decade of war and economic woes. Even before the Turkish strikes, many of the targeted stations had only been providing about 10 hours of power daily.

Kurdish official Yasser al-Sulaiman called for the US-led international anti-jihadist coalition and Russia to “stand by the Syrian people… and stop the Turkish aggression against our regions”.

Over the weekend, Turkey said it had hit dozens of targets in northern Syria and Iraq belonging to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the People’s Protection Units (YPG).

The YPG are the main component of the Syrian Democratic Forces, the de facto army of the Kurdish semi-autonomous administration that controls swathes of Syria’s northeast, and which spearheaded the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria, with US support.

Turkey views the YPG as an offshoot of the PKK — a group designated by Turkey and many of its Western allies as a terrorist organisation.

In October, Turkey targeted dozens of facilities and military sites in northern Syria after an attack on the interior ministry in Ankara, claimed by the PKK.

Since 2016, Turkey has carried out successive ground operations to expel Kurdish forces from border areas of northern Syria.

Syria’s war has killed more than half a million people since it erupted in 2011 after Damascus brutally cracked down on anti-government protests, spiralling into a devastating war involving foreign armies and jihadists.

AFP
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With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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